Wolf Spiders

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Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are members of the Lycosidae family. They are excellent hunters with superb eyesight. Wolf spiders are extremely common. They can be found everywhere. In the United States alone there are nearly 125 species of wolf spiders. They can be found both coastally and inland. Outdoors, wolf spiders tend to build burrows to live in. Though in more suburban areas, wolf spiders tend to find their way indoors, especially in the fall. Indoors, wolf spiders can be found around doors, near plants, windows, humid basements, and garages. These are all somewhat secluded locations, but also locations where they might find prey.
Wolf spiders can have a leg span of up to 1.2 inches. However, since there are so many species of wolf spider, there are just as many different sizes of them as well. Most wolf spiders are tan to black in coloration, and tend to blend-in with their surroundings. As previously mentioned, these spiders have excellent eyesight. The have eight eyes arraigned in three rows. The bottom row consists of four small eyes, the middle row has two very large eyes, and the top row has two medium sized eyes. A unique feature of the wolf spider is that their eyes reflect light well. Flashing a beam of light over the spider will produce “eyeshine” or a glow from their eyes.

Wolf Spider

Another way in which wolf spiders are unique is the way that they carry their eggs with them. The egg sac, a round silken globe, is attached to the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen. Immediately after the spiderlings emerge from their silken case, they climb up their mother’s legs and crowd onto her abdomen. They stay there until their first change of skin.
Wolf spiders typically eat an array of insects. Wolf spiders are rarely found in groups as they prefer to hunt alone. Some are ambushers and lie in wait for their prey. There are others who will actually chase their prey over short distances.

As for wolf spider bites, they are typically considered defensive bites. However, because these spiders are living so closely to humans, it can be assumed that they are common. In the U.S., wolf spider bites are not lethal. Bites that penetrate the skin can cause pain, swelling, and itching. Symptoms may only last for a few minutes, or can take a few days to heal. In places such as South America, there are wolf spider species whose bites can be more severe.

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