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Family Lycosidae - Wolf Spiders

Spider - Pardosa Rabidosa rabida - female Tigrosa annexa - female saved from the swimming pool - Tigrosa helluo Pardosa sp.? - Arctosa littoralis Hogna 'incognita' - Hogna Female, Lycosidae - Arctosa littoralis - female Lycosidae
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Chelicerata (Chelicerates)
Class Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
No Taxon (Entelegynae)
Family Lycosidae (Wolf Spiders)
Explanation of Names
Named after the genus Lycosa, itself from the Greek word "lycosa" meaning "wolf".

The names of several of the genera follow a pattern: the Greek name of a mammalian carnivore has an "a" or "cosa" added to the end:
Lycos- Wolf
Alopex- Fox
Arctos- Bear
Pardos- Panther
Approx. 240 species in 21 genera in North America north of Mexico. Exact numbers and recognized genera are subject to change. Note that at the time of this writing the World Spider Catalog(2) lists 9 species of Lycosa in North America, these are not included here because they likely all belong to other genera. It is noted in "Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual" By D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth (eds)(1) that "the genus Lycosa Lᴀᴛʀᴇɪʟʟᴇ 1840b is properly restricted to a group of large burrowing wolf spiders in the Mediterranean region. Consequently this genus is not represented in North America, and the species listed from this continent by Platnick (2005) require revision and placement." One species of Paratrochosina is also not included here as in SoNA(1) it is suspected of being a misidentification of the highly variable Alopecosa hirtipes, more information is needed.

Acantholycosa – 1 species (2) *Please see Remarks
Allocosa - 17 species(2)
Alopecosa – 6 species(2)
Arctosa - 11 species(2)
Camptocosa – 2 species(2)
Geolycosa – 18 species and 1 subspecies(2)
Gladicosa – 5 species(2)
Hesperocosa – 1 species(2)
Hogna – 19 species(2)
Melocosa – 1 species(2)
Pardosa – 78 species(2)
Pirata – 23 species(2)
Piratula – 5 species(2)
Rabidosa – 5 species(2)
Schizocosa – 27 species(2)
Sosippus -6 species(2)
Tigrosa – 5 species(2)
Trabeops – 1 species(2)
Trebacosa - 1 species(2)
Trochosa – 4 species(2)
Varacosa – 5 species(2)
2.2-35.0 mm(1)
Acantholycosa -
Allocosa - 3-10 mm (3)
Alopecosa - 7-16 mm (3)
Arctosa - 5-16 mm (3)
Camptocosa - 5.1-7.0 mm(4)
Geolycosa - 14-18 mm (3)
Gladicosa - 8-19 mm (3)
Hesperocosa - less than 6 mm (3)
Hogna - 18-35 mm
Melocosa - 11-17 mm (3)
Pardosa - 5 mm-11 mm (3)
Pirata - 4-8 mm (3)
Rabidosa - 10-20 mm
Schizocosa - 5-28 mm (3)
Sosippus - 11.2-32 mm
Tigrosa - 10-31 mm(5)
Trabeops - 3-4 mm (3)
Trebacosa - 5.4—8.75 mm (3)
Trochosa - 9-14 mm (3)
Varacosa - 8-11 mm (3)
Eight dark eyes of unequal size arranged in three rows, the first having four eyes (see below). The abdomen and the cephalothorax are usually as long as wide. The long legs have three microscopic claws at each tip.

Widespread from the Arctic to the Subtropics.(1) Found throughout North America.
Preferred habitat varies between species but includes open grasslands, suburban lawns, deciduous forests, deserts, coastal dunes, sandy soil and wet terrain such as marshes and swamps.(1)(6)
Mainly insects.
Life Cycle
Most wolf spiders live on the ground and hunt for prey at night. Their dark mottled colors help camouflage them among the leaves. Except for those in the genus Sosippus, wolf spiders do not spin webs. Some dig burrows in the ground, others make holes under rocks, and many have no retreat at all.

The mating rituals of wolf spiders can vary depending on the species, as is true for most spider groups. Adult males follow silk and chemical cues left by females. Generally, males then use a combination of visual and seismic (vibratory) behaviors to court their potential mate. They often wave and rhythmically thump their pedipalps and/or abdomen on the ground. Most species also create sounds (usually inaudible to humans) by quickly rubbing together two corresponding parts of their body, known as "stridulatory files." The female spins a spherical egg sac, attaches it to her spinnerets, and drags it about until the spiderlings emerge. The young clamber about on the female’s back and are carried until they are ready to disperse (see below).

*re: Acantholycosa: Our one species in this genus (Acantholycosa solituda) keys to Pardosa in SoNA(1) where the validity of the genus is considered uncertain. Vogel, 2004, separates the two genera by their ventral tibia I spines: Acantholycosa has 5-7 pairs, and Pardosa have only 3 pairs, of which the distal pair may be short. It may be interesting to note that Acantholycosa solituda apparently only occurs at high elevations, above timberline, in talus; in Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.(7)(8)
See Also
Agelenidae - Funnel Weavers
Ctenidae - Wandering Spiders
Miturgidae - Prowling Spiders
Pisauridae - Nursery Web Spiders
Zoropsidae - False Wolf Spider
Print References
Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual
By D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth (eds)(1)

Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States (California Natural History Guides)
By Richard J. Adams (Author) , Timothy D. Manolis (Illustrator)(6)
Internet References
World Spider Catalog (2014). World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern, online at, version 15.5, accessed on 11/26/2014
Works Cited
1.Spiders of North America: An Identification Manual
D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth (eds). 2005. American Arachnological Society.
2.World Spider Catalog
3.The Wolf Spiders, Nurseryweb Spiders, and Lynx Spiders of Canada and Alaska
Dondale, Charles D. and James H. Redner. 1990. Canadian Government Publishing Centre, Ottawa.
4.A new genus of wolf spiders from Mexico and southern United States, with description of a new species from Texas (Araneae: Lycos
Charles Dondale, Maria-Luisa Jiménez, & Gisela Nieto. 2005. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 76: 41-44.
5.Nearctic species of the new genus Tigrosa (Araneae: Lycosidae)
Allen R. Brady. 2012. Journal of Arachnology 40(2):182-208.
6.Field Guide to the Spiders of California and the Pacific Coast States (California Natural History Guides)
Richard J. Adams (Author) , Timothy D. Manolis (Illustrator) . 2014. University of California Press.
7.A Review of the Spider Genera Pardosa and Acantholycosa (Araneae, Lycosidae) of the 48 Contiguous United States
Beatrice R. Vogel. 2004. The Journal of Arachnology 32:55–108.
8.Checklist of the spiders (Araneae) of Canada and Alaska
Paquin, Buckle, Duperre, & Dondale. 2010. Zootaxa 2461: 1–170.