The Wolf Spider female is an ardent caretaker of her young, demonstrating a devotion not commonly seen in arachnids.
A mottled brown color, the Wolf Spider hunts at night, spending the daytime hiding in a burrow under stones, logs, or other undisturbed places. The earthy coloring makes them difficult to see in forests and lawns even in the daytime. They have been found exploring the inside of homes, too. Their large size makes them intimidating and generally feared. They are known to deliver a painful bite when handled, but their venom is not medically dangerous to humans. Given their size, one can imagine the fangs are also proportionately large, adding to the pain of a bite. Wolf Spiders have reflective eyes. This quality is best seen at night. Shining a flashlight at one reveals its location.
After mating in the fall, males die and females overwinter. A female lays her eggs in the spring and bundles them in a sac spun from her spider silk. She guards this sac and may be seen moving it to safer locations. Once hatched, the small spiderlings climb onto the back of the mother and spend the summer there. Like adults, young spiders also have reflective eyes. When a mother and her offspring are seen at night with a flashlight, the multitude of staring eyes on her back looks like a glittering jewel or disco ball. The young spiders grow in size while piggy-backing on the mother. Both mother and spiderlings overwinter together. The next summer, the spiderlings reach full size and full maturity and finally leave the mother to start life on their own.
Scientific Name: Hogna aspersa
Other Name(s): Wolf Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.62in to 0.98in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).