Wolf spiders are expert hunters and pretty easy to identify due to their large size and hairy bodies. If touched or threatened a Wolf spider will bite. I was careful while observing this large gray, grey, Wolf spider that made his home in our Lantana plant.
Wolf Spiders have over 2,000 species and are members of the Lycosidae family. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some Wolf spiders will chase their prey and others will wait in their burrow for passing prey. Wolf spiders are fast runners.
Arizona Wolf spiders are generally hairy with varying colors from browns and grays. Sometimes this spider will have a pattern along the back of the abdomen and head. Wolf spiders have good camouflage for living in the desert. They depend on camouflage for protection.
The photo above and below shows the eyes of the Wolf spider. They have eight eyes in three horizontal rows; with 4 small eyes on the bottom, 2 large eyes in the middle and 2 medium eyes on the top.
The light from the flashlight has been reflected from the Wolf spider’s eyes producing a glow in the photo below. According to the Arizona – Sonora Desert Museum, the eye shine is caused by a tapetum in the eye which reflects light rays back through the eye retina and probably enhances the spider’s night vision. Wolf spiders are primarily nocturnal predators and are rarely seen during the day.
The male Wolf spider has two additional leg-like appendages, called palps, that are attached behind the mouthparts. These palps are used to hold and position prey and in the mating ritual. Female Wolf spiders are larger than males.
Female Wolf spiders carry their egg case at the end of the abdomen by attaching it to their spinnerets. The female spider holds her abdomen up in the air so the egg sac doesn’t drag on the ground. When the spiderlings hatch they climb onto the female Wolf spider’s abdomen and hold her hairs.
Wolf spiders are capable of defensive bites if provoked. Symptoms of the Wolf Spider’s venomous bite include swelling, pain, redness and itching. The skin area at the Wolf spider bite may turn black. Swelling and pain can last up to ten days.
Nevertheless, having wolf spiders is considered favorable because they consume undesirable arachnids. I’m quite happy to have this Wolf spider guarding our large Lantana shrub.