Wolf Spider
Hogna carolinensis

Family: Lycosidae
Spanish names: mordelena, carga hijas, buena madre


Wolf spiders are large, with a 1 inch (25 mm) body length; like tarantulas, they live in burrows. Wolf spider burrows can be differentiated from tarantula burrows by the turret of silk and twigs that extends vertically from the wolf spider�s hole. The wolf spider can be from gray to dark brown with distinctive peach or orange coloration on the front of the chelicerae.

Distribution and Habitat

This particular species of wolf spider is found throughout the United States in habitats ranging from desertscrub to woodlands.

Wolf spider

These spiders are most often found in Arizona Upland habitat, where their burrows are quite conspicuous. They are typically active from March through October, when their green eye shine can be easily seen as they cross roads at night. The eye shine is caused by a tapetum in the eye which reflects light rays back through the eye retina and probably enhances the spider�s night vision. Wolf spiders are primarily nocturnal predators and are rarely seen during the day.

Life History

Wolf spiders are expert and vigorous hunters. Adult males can be found wandering throughout the summer rainy season, presumably searching for mates. The male must give the female appropriate signals when he finds her, to avoid being perceived as a threat. He does this by tapping his legs in a particular fashion. He also drums with his palps, and in a procedure called stridulation, he produces sounds by scraping the palp against itself. After the female lays eggs, she carries the egg case with her wherever she goes, attached to her spinnerets. Sometimes she suns the egg case, sticking her rump, with egg case attached, outside the burrow entrance. The spiderlings hatch after about a month and climb onto the mother�s back, holding onto specialized hairs. After another month, they disperse, sometimes by ballooning. A female wolf spider may live up to 2 years.

Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 07-15-2024