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Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis)


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



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The Carolina Wolf Spider is North America's largest wolf spider and it has made every part of the continent its home.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Carolina Wolf Spider is a skilled hunter, not a trapper like other spiders. It does not wait for prey to get tangled in an intricate web; it seeks out and attacks. Though it is possible to see them in the daytime, Carolina Wolf Spiders are nocturnal and are usually spotted by people at night. Brown and black bodies keep them well camouflaged on forest floors, but they are easier to spot on sandy soil near coastlines. They are comfortable in almost any habitat and sometimes wander indoors looking for insects to eat.

This spider is large, hairy and fast. The head is slightly elevated by the eyes. The cephalothorax has a tan line down the center of it. The sides of the cephalothorax are dark brown or black with a lighter brown border on both edges. The abdomen is shaped like an almond. The top of the abdomen has a dark almond-shaped mark near the waist and a chevron pattern toward the rear. Females are generally darker and larger than males. After mating, a female will dig a hole in the ground that can be almost 200 mm (8") deep. She lines it with spider silk and covers the opening with plant debris. This where her eggs are laid and wrapped in a silken sac. She will carry this egg sac on her back where ever she goes until the spiderlings hatch. It is not unusual to see wolf spider mothers carry all of her small spiderlings on her abdomen.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon
Venomous insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Lycosidae
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          Genus: Hogna
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            Species: carolinensis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hogna carolinensis
Other Name(s): Giant Wolf Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 35mm (0.70" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brow, black, ivory
Descriptors: biting, hairy, venomous, large, line, stripe
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 26.5mm
Hi: 35mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Carolina Wolf Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Carolina Wolf Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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