Wolf spider

Wolf spider


Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae,
from the Ancient Greek word “λύκος” meaning “wolf”. They are robust and agile hunters with excellent
eyesight. They live mostly solitary and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon
prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some will wait for passing prey in or near
the mouth of a burrow. Wolf spiders resemble Nursery web spiders,
but wolf spiders carry their egg sacs by attaching them to their spinnerets. Two of the Wolf spider’s eight eyes are large
and prominent, which distinguishes them from the Nursery web spiders whose eyes are all
of approximately equal size. This can also help distinguish them from grass
spiders. Description There are many genera of wolf spider, ranging
in body size from less than 1 to 35 millimetres. They have eight eyes arranged 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. They depend on their excellent eyesight to
hunt. They also possess an acute sense of touch. Flashing a beam of light over the spider will
produce eyeshine. 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 possess the third best eyesight
of all spider species, bested only by jumping spiders of the order Salticidae as well as
the huntsmen spiders. 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. Because they depend on camouflage for protection,
they do not have the flashy appearance of some other kinds of spiders. In general their coloration is appropriate
to their favorite habitat. Hogna is the genus with the largest of the
wolf spiders. Among the Hogna species in the U.S., the nearly
solid dark brown H. carolinensis is the largest, with a body that can be more than one inch
long. It is sometimes confused with H. helluo, which
is somewhat smaller and different in coloration. The underside of H. carolinensis is solid
black, but the underside of H. helluo is variegated and has reds, oranges, and yellows with shades
of black. Some members of the Lycosidae, such as H.
carolinensis, make deep tubular burrows in which they lurk much of the time. Others, such as H. helluo, seek shelter under
rocks and other shelters as nature may provide. They may wander from place to place, and are
therefore more likely to be the ones attracted into human habitation when the weather starts
to turn colder in autumn. There are many smaller wolf spiders. They live on pastures and fields and are an
important natural control on harmful insects. Venom
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. Habitats
Wolf spiders can be found in a wide range of habitats both coastal and inland. These include shrublands, woodland, 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 most are wanderers without permanent homes. Some build burrows which can be left open
or have a trapdoor. Arid zone species construct turrets or plug
their holes with leaves and pebbles during the rainy season to protect themselves from
flood waters. Honoraria
The Carolina wolf spider is the Official State Spider of South Carolina. Designated as such in 2000, South Carolina
is the only U.S. state that recognizes a state spider. Gallery Footnotes See also
List of spiders associated with cutaneous reactions
List of Lycosidae genera List of Lycosidae species
References Platnick, Norman I.: The world spider catalog,
version 8.5. American Museum of Natural History. External links
Wolf Spider Fact Sheet highlights prevention tips as well as information on habits, habitat
and health threats

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *