What does a wolf spider look like?

Pest Management In and Around Structures March 23, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Wolf spiders, family Lycosidae, look far more fearsome than they are. These mobile ground hunters do not build webs but rather can be found in most natural environments in search of prey. Their hunting efforts may lead them into dwellings on occasion, though this is not a preferred habitat.

Their size, like their diversity, varies greatly - from only ¼-inch body length to 1½ inches with a leg span of up to 3 inches. They are usually brown in color with black and white markings, and have long bodies covered with hair.

The female’s maternal behavior distinguishes this spider: she carries her egg sac on the underside of her abdomen until it hatches, after which time the spiderlings ride around with her atop her back for up to a week. If disturbed or threatened, the spiderlings will scatter from the mother’s back and later regroup.

Despite their often large size and fast-moving abilities, wolf spiders and their venom are not a threat to humans. If found inside, wolf spiders should be herded, not captured, outdoors where they are considered extremely beneficial.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.