Wolf Spider
Spiders
 

Wolf Spider


The name Wolf spider used for all the spider species in the family Lycosidae. This family contains over 2300 species divided into 104 genera. Wolf spider species are found all over the world. Examples of genera in which you can find wolf spiders are Arctosa, Geolycosa, Knoelle and Lycosa.

Wolf spider description
The wolf spiders vary in size. Some of them are smaller than 0.2 inches while others grow up to one inch or more. The biggest of the U.S. wolf spider species is Hogna carolinensis, commonly known as Carolina wolf spider. This spider is one of the wolf spiders that exceeds one inch in length. 

Wolf spiders have elongated cephalothoraxes that tend to be high and narrow in the front. The legs and jaws are strong and sturdy, and it is easy to understand that these spiders are capable hunters. They have eight eyes. Four smaller eyes are situated at the bottom part of the spiders’ face, and right above these small eyes you can see two considerably larger eyes that look forward. The last pair of eyes is located farther back and face upwards so the wolf spider can see what happens above.

Wolf spider habits
With the exception of the wolf spiders in the genus Sosippus, wolf spiders do not create webs. Unlike most spiders, the wolf spiders are equipped with good vision and will chase their prey. The name wolf spider is derived from a common misconception regarding these spiders – they do in fact not hunt together in packs like wolves.

You can find wolf spiders in a wide range of different environments and they also feature very dissimilar habits. Some wolf spiders will seek shelter in crevices, while others spend most of their life as vagabonds without any permanent residence. You can even see wolf spiders skate over the waters surface and dive under it when they spot insects or small fish. A truly fascinating hunting technique involves putting one leg into the water and wait for a fish to see it and believe it to be food. When the fish comes close enough, it is caught by the wolf spider.

Wolf spider offspring
The female wolf spiders are renowned for how their carry their eggs in a spherical egg sack that is attached to their spinnerets. She creates the egg sack from spider silk after mating. 

The wolf spiders look similar to their close relatives, the nursery web spiders in the family Pisauridae. The female wolf spider will however carry her egg sack by attaching it to her spinneret, while the female members of the Pisauridae family use their jaws and pedipalps.

Three genera of wolf spiders differ from the other wolf spiders by not carrying around their eggs. Wolf spider species belonging to the genera Alopecosa, Arctosa and Trochosa will instead use silk to line holes or tubes underground and keep their eggs in there.

After two or three weeks, the wolf spider offspring inside the egg sack will be large enough to emerge. The female wolf spider will open the egg sac using her teeth, and numerous spider babies will climb onto the abdomen of her and cling on. It will typically take several hours until all the small wolf spiders have found their way from the egg sac to the abdomen of their mother. They will stay there until its time for them to change skin.


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