#CreatureFeature: Wolf spiders (Lycosa sp.)

Wolf spiders are found throughout Australia. They are robust, agile hunters that live on the ground in leaf litter or burrows.

Description

There are many species of wolf spiders, ranging in size. Most having variegated patterns in brown and yellow, grey, black and white. Often the patterns include radiating lines on the carapace and scroll-like patterns on the abdomen. Their underside is light grey, cream or black, salmon pink, with black or white markings superimposed. The sides of their jaws may have a small raised orange spot. Wolf spiders have eight eyes in three rows.

Habitat and Distribution

Wolf spiders are found in habitats ranging from the arid interior, alpine terrain to coastal zones. Some species are also common in suburban gardens.

Many wolf spiders have wide distributions, aided by their ability to disperse aerially as spiderlings. Many also occur in niches such as stream-side gravel beds, montane herb-fields or coastal sand-dunes.

Diet

Wolf spiders eats crickets, other spiders, ants, grasshoppers and many other types of small invertebrates. Larger species will also occasionally take small lizards and frogs. They are typically nocturnal hunters.

Behaviour

Most wolf spiders are wanderers however some make temporary retreats in vegetation and others build burrows, either with or without a trapdoor. Arid zone species build turrets to deflect floodwaters during rainy periods, while others use pebbles to plug their burrows. In woodlands, twigs may be used to form a palisade around the top of the burrow.

Burrows of the Grey Wolf Spider (Lycosa simsoni) have a circular trap door that is often left open when the spider is out hunting. The shape and materials used to form burrows and trapdoors may help to distinguish similar-looking species.

Reproduction

Males seek the females outside of their burrows aided by the females scent trail. They then perform a courtship ritual often involving complex leg and palp signalling to the female.

The female constructs a white papery silk egg sac, shaped like a ball – she then carries the egg attached to her spinnerets. When the spiderlings hatch, the females carried them on her back until they are ready to disperse. Such a high degree of parental care is relatively unusual among spiders.

 

Information Source https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/spiders/wolf-spiders/

Photo Credit: Aiden English

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1 comment

Some even take refuge in ones shoes on the verandah, so always make sure you check inside shoes!
So nice to read what they eat as we have many of them at Kojarena & they are taken outside when found inside the house even thou I didn’t know what they ate but know they are part of our eco-system & had a role to play

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