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Wolf Spider (Hogna aspersa)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Wolf Spider.

 Updated: 8/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Lycosidae
          Genus: Hogna
            Species: aspersa
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Hogna aspersa
Other Name(s): Wolf Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 25mm (0.62in to 0.98in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; tan; yellow
Descriptors: biting, venomous
Territorial Map
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Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
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.




Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
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).