Clicky

Wolf Spider: Key Facts

Did you know there are over 2,000 species of wolf spider in the world? Or that this fierce predator of the insect world has predators of its own? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll explore these and other wolf spider key facts.

Quick Facts About Wolf Spiders

Scientific Name:Lycosidae
Class:Arachnida
Number of Species:About 2,300
Physical Description:Medium to large ground-dwelling spider. May have lines or splotchy patterns in brown, tan, white, cream, orange, gray, or black. Their bodies are covered in hair, including their intimidating jaws which hang down vertically below their face. They have eight eyes: four small ones on the bottom, two large ones in the middle, and two medium-sized ones at the top and to the sides of the head. Female wolf spiders can sometimes be seen carrying their young on their back.
Distribution:Widely distributed throughout the world; found on every continent except Antarctica.
Habitat:Found in many different habitats including grasslands, woodlands, rainforests, deserts, and mountains.
Size:Varies by species; body length averages 1 to 3 inches.
Diet:Opportunistic carnivore; foods may include:
– Insects
– Insect eggs
– Frogs and toads
– Small mammals
Lifespan:12 to 18 months
Life Stages:Two:
– Egg
– Spider

How Do You Identify a Wolf Spider?

There are many different species of wolf spider throughout the world, and they don’t all look the same. That said, they all share some similar physical and behavioral characteristics that can help you learn to identify them.

Firstly, wolf spiders are generally hairy, and most of them are large–up to three inches in diameter, not including the legs. They often have vertical lines running the length of their body, though some have a more non-distinct splotchy pattern.

Wolf spiders have distinctive mouthparts that look a little like hairy fangs hanging down from the face. These are known as chelicerae.

Most spiders have eight eyes, but the eyes of wolf spiders are arranged in a highly recognizable way. They have a row of four small eyes on the bottom, a pair of large eyes above that, and a pair of medium-sized eyes at the top, positioned more to the sides of the face.

Wolf spiders are generally not aggressive toward people; they tend to run from anything that looks or sounds like danger rather than staying to fight.

Mother wolf spiders carry their egg sac on the underside of their abdomen, attached to the spinnerets. When the babies hatch, they crawl onto the mother’s back and ride piggyback style for up to a few weeks.

Check out this video to learn more about wolf spiders:

What are the Predators of a Wolf Spider?

Wolf spiders are exceptional hunters with a hunting style similar to wolves. But, unlike the apex predator they’re named after, wolf spiders are not at the top of the food chain–there are times when these hunters become the hunted.

Wolf spiders are sometimes eaten by insect-eating rodents such as mice, rats, and moles. They are also a favorite snack of many different kinds of birds and a few reptiles as well.

Surprisingly though, some wolf spiders grow large enough that they can eat their own predators. Some of the largest wolf spiders hunt mice, frogs, lizards, and other small animals to help broaden their diet.

Conclusion

Wolf spiders are interesting creatures that hunt like wolves and can grow up to three inches long, not including the legs. They have several identifying features such as their hairy bodies, particularly the chelicerae, and the eye arrangement on their faces. If you find them near or at your home, we’ve got some tips for you. Also, here are some tips if you’ve got bitten by a wolf spider.

ForestWildlife.org

6022 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Donations

If you would like to support ForestWildlife.org in the form of donation or sponsorship, please contact us HERE.

You will find more information about our wildlife conservation campaigns HERE.

Disclaimer

ForestWildlife.org does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We try to help our visitors better understand forest habitats; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.