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Saturday, December 15, 2007


Wolf Spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, so named because their method of hunting is to run down their prey. They are robust and agile hunters that rely on good eyesight to hunt, typically at night.

There are several genera of wolf spider, ranging in size from 1 cm to 8 cm. They have eight eyes arranged in three rows. The bottom row consists of four small eyes, the middle row has two very large eyes (which distinguishes them from the Pisauridae), and the top row has two medium-sized eyes. They depend on their eyesight, which is quite good, to hunt. Their sense of touch is also acute. They are mostly harmless to humans; a bite may cause some itching, but is itself nothing deadly or major.
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 entirely different in coloration.

The Carolina Wolf Spider in particular make deep tubular burrows in and around which they lurk much of the time. Others, seek shelter under convenient rocks and other such 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 patrol our pastures and fields and are an important natural control on harmful insects.

The wolf spiders bite in defense. Some South American species may give bites that are medically significant. However, in general their presence works much more in favor of humans wherever they are found.

One strange thing about female Wolf Spiders is that they carry their eggs along with them in spherical, silk egg sacs attached to their spinnerets. After the eggs hatch, the multitude of tiny spiders climb onto their mother's abdomen, where she carries them for about one month. This high degree of parental care is unusual in spiders. That is more like a mammal.

Pictures and Information courtesy of

In the Philippines, we also have a Wolf Spider. It’s Tagalog name is Gagambang Lobo.
Identifying marks: The abdomen is oval. The legs are long and tapered. The colors are usually dull, with gray, brown, and black predominating. They do not build webs but catch their prey directly. They enclose their eggs in a silken sac attached on the females’ posterior end of their abdomen. After hatching, the young (spider lings) cling to the abdomen of the female.Food: An aggressive hunter, it searches plant and water surface for prey such as plant hoppers, leafhoppers, caseworms, leaf folders, whorl maggots, newly hatched larvae, and moths of stem borers. It consumes 7-45 hoppers per day. It is the major predator of plant hoppers and leafhoppers. Spider lings also attack plant hopper and leafhopper nymphs.

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