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Taxonomy terms

Wolf spiders (Lycosidae species)

Wolf spiders are found across Australia. They are ground spider found in the leaf litter and in burrows. In urban areas they are common in lawns and gardens.

The body length varies by species and can be anywhere between 1 – 8 cm.

The colour varies predominately a combination of browns, greys and black, sometimes with white and yellow, often in a patterns / strips on the thorax and abdomen. including white and yellow.

Wolf spiders have a unique eye arrangement – 8 eyes in three rows in a 4:2:2 arrangement with four small eyes in a row above the fangs and the four larger eyes in a square further back on the head. The middle row of two eyes on the top of the head can be significantly larger than the rest.

They are fast runners.

Web:

Wolf spiders are wandering spiders and do not build a web.

Mating:

Male wolf spiders locate a female burrow by odour. They perform a series of leg and palp movements as part of a courtship ritual prior to mating and mate outside the burrow during the night.

Eggs:

The female produces a ball shaped egg sac which she attaches to her spinnerets and thus carries around with her.

Wolf spider spiderlings:

When the eggs hatch, the spiderlings ride around on the female’s back until they are ready to disperse.

Life-span:

Wolf spiders generally live for around a year.

Wolf spiders prey on ground dwelling invertebrates, but will attack small vertebrates. Indeed two species of wolf spider are known to eat cane toads.

Wolf spiders are not seen as harmful to humans.

Symptoms:

Generally mild bite with localised pain / itchiness

In occasional more severe reactions there may be prolonged pain, dizziness and nausea

First aid:

  • Apply an ice pack to the bite area
  • (Capture or take a photo of the spider for identification)
  • Seek medical attention if an allergic reaction occurs

Wolf spiders are everywhere and there is little in the way of preventative measures, other than ensuring doors and screens are well fitted to minimise entry into buildings.

Treatment notes:

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