Wolf spiders can grow up to a length of two inches and may be as small as half an inch. This hairy spider varies in color from brown to gray while having different markings or lines. They have similar features with a brown recluse and are distinguished from the brown recluse only by its lack of a violin shaped marking which is a distinct identification of the brown recluse.
A wolf spider has eight eyes positioned in three rows such that the bottom row has four small eyes while the top row includes two medium sized eyes. The middle row consists of two large eyes. All the eyes combine for excellent eyesight to effectively hunt for food. A distinct characteristic of this spider’s eye is its capability to produce an eye shine after flashing a beam of light over its head. The glow produced by its eyes can be easily recognized.
The size of a wolf spider may vary based on genera. The spider size, excluding its legs, ranges from 0.4 inches or 10 millimeters to 1.38 inches or 35 millimeters.
Wolf spiders are known to be robust and agile with excellent eyesight, making them good hunters. They are considered small which make them fast enough to reliably chase their preys over short distances. They hunt alone and can also hide in the mouth of a burrow where they will wait for a passing prey.
Wolf spiders have eight eyes distributed in three rows. The bottom row includes four small eyes while the middle row consists of two very large eyes. The top row has medium sized eyes.
The female wolf spider has the capability to carry her eggs through the spinnerets at the end of her abdomen. In this condition, the wolf spider is still capable of hunting.
The appearance of the wolf spiders is not eye catching so they can easily blend with their favorite habitat and use its camouflage for protection.
The wolf spider body consists of variegated pattern while its underside is usually light grey, cream or black and sometimes salmon pink provided with white or black markings. The sides of the wolf spider jaws have small raised orange spots. The head is high and convex.
Wolf spider species are found throughout the Australian region. They can also be found in the Northern America. In fact, wolf spiders are considered the largest spiders in Nebraska.
Wolf spiders can be found all over the worlds and are abundant in meadows and grasslands and in other areas where they can hunt insects as food. Males are usually smaller than females and can live only for one year or less while females can live for many years. Their color vary from brown, tan, grey to black. There are about 2,300 species of wolf spiders and about 200 species live in the United States.
However, they are shy and just run away when bothered. A very distinct characteristic of the wolf spider is its ability to carry its large egg sac even when moving around. The newly hatched spiderlings that come out from the egg sac immediately climb into the back of their mother and remains in that area until they reach a grown stage.
They are usually found in all terrestrial habitats, near garages, doors, house plants, windows and basements. They can also be found in shrub lands, wet coastal forest, woodland, alpine meadows and suburban gardens. They roam at night when hunting for food, usually pouncing on their prey and sometimes chasing it for a short distance but without using or spinning a web.
A wolf spider bite is not lethal and is considered a minor bite, which only results in localized pain or itchiness. A few wolf spider bites may also result to nausea, rapid pulse, prolonged pain, swelling and dizziness.
Wolf spiders are not poisonous, but just like many other spiders, they are capable of defensive bites and their bites may cause a reaction in certain individuals. They will inject venom when continuously provoked. Symptoms of a wolf spider bite are mild pain, itching and swelling. Australian wolf spiders are said to be capable of inflicting necrotic wounds.