Wolf spiders, members of the Lycosidae family of spiders take their name from the ancient Greek word for “wolf.” Wolf spiders’ eight eyes, positioned in three rows with two large eyes in the middle row give these agile and active hunters excellent eyesight. Eyes that reflect light so well assist homeowners in detecting wolf spider eye shine with a flashlight beam.
Brown or dark in coloration, with bristled legs and gray or black patterning, some wolf spiders may resemble tarantulas in appearance and can also be mistaken for nursery web spiders, brown recluse and fishing spiders. With 125 species of wolf spiders in the US, these lone hunters, rarely found in groups, thrive all over the country. As one of the country’s most abundant spiders, wolf spiders are so common in California they have been called California Wolf Spiders. The Texas Rabid Wolf Spider is known as the largest spider in the Lone Star state. In 2000, South Carolina designated the Carolina Wolf Spider, the largest of the wolf spiders, as its official state spider, making South Carolina the only US state to recognize a state spider.
Wolf spiders can measure up to 1.2 inches in body size with a total length of 4 inches including their legs. The wolf spider’s most distinctive feature revolves around the fact that female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs and young spiderlings with them. Attached by spinnerets at the end of the female’s abdomen, the female wolf spider carries her egg sac with her while she hunts. At the appropriate time, the female spider opens the egg sac with her powerful jaws and her spiderlings scurry onto the top of her abdomen, where she protects them until their first molt.