Drab, most with variegated patterns in brown, grey, black and white
Stout-robust body with long, spiny legs
1 – 8 cm across legs
Wolf spiders, Lycosidea genera, are robust and agile spiders with body sizes ranging from less than 1mm to 35mm. They have eight eyes, with the four largest arranged in a square on top of head. They depend on their excellent eyesight to hunt. They also possess an acute sense of touch. Jaws often bear an orange spot on sides.
Flashing a beam of light over the spider will produce eye shine. The light from the flashlight has been reflected from the spider's eyes directly back toward its source, producing a ‘glow’ that is easily noticed. This is also especially helpful because the wolf spiders are nocturnal and will be out hunting for food, making it easier to find them.
Wolf spiders are unique in the way that they carry their eggs. The egg sac, a round silken globe, is attached to the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen, allowing the spider to carry her unborn young with her. The abdomen must be held in a raised position to keep the egg case from dragging on the ground, however despite this handicap they are still capable of hunting. Another aspect unique to wolf spiders is their method of infant care. Immediately after the spiderlings emerge from their protective silken case, they clamber up their mother's legs and crowd onto her abdomen.
Wolf spiders can be found in a wide range of habitats both coastal and inland. These include shrub lands, woodlands, wet coastal forest, alpine meadows, and suburban gardens. Spiderlings disperse aerially and consequently wolf spiders have wide distributions. Although some species have very specific microhabitat needs (such as stream-side gravel beds or montane herb-fields) most are wanderers without permanent homes. Some build burrows, which can be left open or have a trapdoor (depending on species). Arid zone species construct turrets or plug their holes with leaves and pebbles during the rainy season to protect themselves from flood waters.
Wolf spiders will inject venom if continually provoked. Symptoms of their venomous bite include swelling, mild pain and itching. In the past, necrotic bites have been attributed to some South American species, but further investigation has indicated that those problems that did occur were probably actually due to bites by members of other genera. Australian wolf spiders have also been associated with necrotic wounds, but careful study has likewise shown them not to produce such results.
Photo provided by Queensland Museum, Jett Wright.
Information provided by Bayer.
Submit a new finding: