Facts about Wolf spider
Not so venomous spiders
They are found in all climate zones except polar. Those active hunting spiders do not spin webs as they are active hunters.
1There are about 2400 wolf spider species divided into 124 genera.
Scientific name for the family is Lycosidae.
2Wolf spiders originated after Cretaceous–Tertiary Extinction that killed 75% of living animals on Earth about 66 million years ago.
Most of modern subfamilies of wolf spiders appeared sometime between 41 and 32 million years ago.
3They have rather inconspicuous appearance.
To get food, wolf spiders need to hunt and chase their victims. In order to succeed they require rather toned down camouflage that is appropriate to their habitat. That is why we won’t find any fancy color flashy spiders among that spiders family.
4The many genera of wolf spiders range in body size from less than 10 to 35 mm (0.4 to 1.38 in).
5They are excellent predators. They stalk their victims and pounce on them.
After catching a prey they often subdue it with venom.
6Wolf spiders have eight eyes and two of them are really big.
They have their eyes arranged in three rows with big eyes in the middle one. Those big eyes reflect light very well so it's easy to spot wolf spider with flashlight pointed in its direction. Eyes are crucial for their hunting success so their vision is excellent. Their vision is the third-best across all spider groups.
7Characteristic feature of wolf spiders is carrying egg sacs attached to spinnerets.
This is unique feature among spiders, no other species carry spiderlings on their back. Despite of additional encumbrance female wolf spiders are still capable of hunting while carrying her babies.
8After conception female wolf spiders carry egg sacs for 20 to 40 days depending on species.
Before hatching female spiders are very aggresive, especialy when separated form egg sack which they seek furiously. After hatching they carry spiderlings on ther back till juveniles are ready to star their own lives.
Juvenile wolf spiders often disperse by air, that is why they are able to inhabit so many places.
9They are solitary creatures.
Wolf spiders live a lonely life and are seen with other representative of their species only during mating season which occur in mid-summer.
10They can be found in many habitats.
Wolf spiders can be found in woodlands, meadows, gardens, shrublands and man-made structures. They are very eager to enter buildings especially in autumn, when it gets colder outside.
11Most active at night or during cloudy days they can travel long distance in search for food.
12They are venomous but not dangerous to humans.
When you get bitten the place may swell and you will feel mild pain and itching. There are no evidence of wolf spiders causing necrotic wounds. Even South American and Australian species are not capable of causing such severe wounds.
13Not all of them live in burrows.
Of course some wolf spider species dig themselves a burrow but there are many species of this spiders that just wander around looking for prey and never stay in the same place for long. There are also wolf spiders that build turrets or just use man-made shelters like sheds, barns etc.
14Carolina wolf spider is the largest of all north American wolf spiders.
Adult females can reach as much as 35 mm in diameter while males barely reach 20 mm. They feed on insects and other small invertebrates.
15Wolf spiders are beneficial to ecosystem.
Thanks to their hunting skills they are excellent pest insects exterminators. So if you spot wolf spider wandering around, don’t kill it, even if you find one in your home try to catch it and take outside.
16Most of wolf spider species are not endangered.
Endangered are those adapted to single habitats like Desertas wolf spider that lives only in one single valley on Madera island in Portugal or Kauaʻi cave wolf spider that lives in few caves on Kauai island, Hawaii.