The Big Hairy Spider is ID’d

The big hairy, eight legged and eight eyed spider has a name!
Lycosidae (Wolf Spider) Pardosa (Thinlegged Wolf Spider) Species (groenlandica).

There are about 2,200 species that belong to the family Lycosiae known as the Wolf Spider and most spiders found on high mountain’s (where I found him) are Wolf Spiders. The “Wolf” part of the name comes from the greek word “lyco” meaning wolf. They also hunt like the wolf by hiding, stalking and then attacking their prey. They travel until they find clues that prey is in the area. A wolf spider’s vision helps its hunt with its eight eyes and they can see better than most other spiders. Two large eyes look forward and help them see in the dark. Below them, four smaller eyes span the width of the wolf spiders head. Two more eyes are on top of its head. So a wolf spider can look up, down, to the right and left, and straight ahead all at once! So no sneaking away from this guy! The female wolf spiders will carry a cocoon full of new spiderlings who will ride around on their mothers back for about a week. The wolf spider is the only spider that allows this piggy back procedure. A normal life span of the wolf spider is considered to be about three years. Once the male becomes an adult and is ready to mate, he lives for only one breeding season.

In California the rice farmers use wolf spiders to eat insects that are harmful to their crops. Each wolf spider eats between 5 and 45 harmful insects a day and this helps the farmer get rid of almost all the insects that destroy their crop. So do welcome one to your garden!

No doubt a very spooky spider but after all the research and pictures I have viewed, nightmares incurred, I now have a new respect for this large hairy Anthropod. Another animal for you to add to the watch list, while on the hiking trails.

I wish to thank Dr Carin Bondar for her input and connections. Also Dr Robb Bennett, Royal BC Museum, Victoria for his identification. He also provided a link to Electronic Atlas of Wildlife in British Columbia and also Carol R for her research and comments.

More “Wolf Spider” photos here.

Jack Borno


One comment

  1. Thank you! I just found one of these in my back yard, and it scared the living dayights out of me. I’ve never seen a spider that big here before. I relocated her because I’m too squeamish to share my patio with something that big carrying what looked like an egg sac on her back…


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