Wolf spiders: interesting facts about arthropods with a strange name

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(ORDO NEWS) — To the attention of all arachnophobes who discovered this material: below you will see several photos of wolf spiders with various descriptions, get ready. And to the rest of the readers of Popular Mechanics who do not experience discomfort from the sight of spiders, we wish you a pleasant read.

Not all people love spiders because of their repulsive appearance. However, if you subdue the feeling of disgust that arises at the thought of spiders, you can learn a lot of new and interesting things about these arthropods.

Wolf Spiders: Basic Information

Wolf spiders are a large family of spiders, most of which are large dark “sporting” arthropods that are of great interest to the scientific community. Unlike ordinary spiders, they do not spin webs to catch prey – instead, they track down their potential prey and jump on top of it at the right moment.

Widespread throughout the world except for Antarctica. Most often they can be found in countries with a warm climate. Wolf spiders live in grassy meadows, shrubs, among fallen leaves and under stones, and the most favorite places are places with a high degree of humidity – these are forests located near water sources.

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Wolf spiders come in brown, gray, black, as well as spotted or striped color – thanks to this, arthropods hide well during the hunt. An adult can grow from 6.4 mm to 3 centimeters in length, with males usually being smaller than females.

Jo-Anne Nina Syulal, an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago), says that wolf spiders have a characteristic arrangement of eyes that differs from other species: the first row (bottom) consists of four small eyes, the second (middle) has two large, and the third row (upper) – from two eyes located on the sides and slightly above the middle eyes. At the same time, they have excellent vision, including night vision.

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Nutrition and lifestyle of wolf spiders

Wolf spiders are solitary. Usually they crawl out at night to calmly hunt alone. Mostly these arthropods live on the ground, but some can climb trees if the prey is worth it.

At the same time, some species are comfortable hiding in the grass or fallen leaves, while others are able to dig minks and tunnels in the soil. Also, depending on their preferences, wolf spiders can lead a nomadic lifestyle, without having a permanent home, or they can constantly return to a certain place after hunting.

Wolf spiders feed mainly on beetles, but will also eat flies, smaller spiders, insect larvae and springtails. Especially large females allow themselves to catch even small vertebrates.

Some species follow their prey on the heels while hunting, while others sit in ambush, waiting for the right moment to jump, squeeze between their paws and bite.

Wolf spider bites

According to the Pennsylvania State University Department of Entomology (USA), wolf spiders bite when threatened, but their venom is not very harmful to humans. If a person nevertheless becomes a victim of the bite of this arthropod, then redness and slight swelling may occur at the site of damage – this is the maximum.

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But as far as safety is concerned, wolf spiders don’t attack their enemies – they use their sharp eyesight, camouflage coloration, quick movements and high sensitivity to vibrations to be aware of approaching danger. Experts note that lizards, birds and some rodents are dangerous for these arthropods.

Reproduction of wolf spiders

During mating, a lot of attention is paid to the so-called “visual mating signals”. Males signal their interest in females by waving their pedipalps (short sensory appendages near the mouth) in a specific way—performing special movements.

After laying eggs, the female wraps the cocoon in several more layers to give it a spherical appearance. The female will wear this ball for the next 2-3 weeks at the tip of the abdomen, where it will be firmly attached to the spinning organ.

The maternal instinct does not disappear, and after hatching, the spiderlings – the female takes the young to her belly and carries them until they are no longer able to get food on their own.

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