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Wolf Spider Control

Wolf Spider Overview

The many genera of wolf spiders range in body size (legs not included) from less than 10 to 35 mm (0.4 to 1.38 in). They have eight eyes arranged in three rows. The bottom row consists of four small eyes, the middle row has two very large eyes (which distinguishes them from the Pisauridae), and the top row has two medium-sized eyes. Unlike most other arachnids, which are generally blind or have poor vision, wolf spiders have excellent eyesight with their large eyes. The sensory hairs on their legs and bodies give them an acute sense of touch.

Wolf spiders possess grate-shaped tapeta lucida; the tapetum lucidum is a retroreflective tissue found in eyes. This reflective tissue is only found in the four 

nonsmall eyes (“secondary eyes”) of the wolf spider. Flashing a beam of light over the spider produces eyeshine; this eyeshine can be seen when the lighting source is roughly coaxial with the viewer or sensor. The light from the light source (e.g., a flashlight or sunlight) has been reflected from the spider’s eyes directly back toward its source, producing a “glow” that is easily noticed. Wolf spiders possess the third-best eyesight of all spider groups, bettered by jumping spiders of the family Salticidae (which can distinguish colors) and the huntsman spiders.

Wolf spiders are unique in the way that they carry their eggs. The egg sac, a round, silken globe, is attached to the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen, allowing the spider to carry her unborn young with her. The abdomen must be held in a raised position to keep the egg case from dragging on the ground. However, despite this handicap, they are still capable of hunting. Another aspect unique to wolf spiders is their method of care of young. Immediately after the spiderlings emerge from their protective silken case, they clamber up their mother’s legs and crowd onto the dorsal side of her abdomen. The mother carries the spiderlings for several weeks before they are large enough to disperse and fend for themselves. No other spiders are currently known to carry their young on their backs for any period of time.

Wolf Spider Venom

Wolf spiders inject venom if continually provoked. Symptoms of their bites include swelling, mild pain, and itching. In the past, necrotic bites have been attributed to some South American species, but further investigation has indicated that those problems that did occur were probably actually due to bites by members of other genera. Australian wolf spiders have also been associated with necrotic wounds, but careful study has likewise shown them not to produce such results.

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