Wolf spider (Pardosa amentata)

loading
Female wolf spider carrying young on back
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Wolf spider fact file

Wolf spider description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassArachnida
OrderAraneae
FamilyLycosidae
GenusPardosa (1)

All wolf spiders are agile, fast-moving ground predators. This species is brownish in colour, and males are typically darker than females, with more distinct markings (3). Like all spiders they have four pairs of legs. In front of the walking legs there is also a pair of leg-like palps, which are used in males for sperm storage (4); in spotted wolf spider males, these palps are black and covered in dark hairs (3). On the head there are eight eyes arranged in three rows; the first row comprises four small eyes, the second contains two larger eyes and the third row has two medium-sized eyes (4).

Size
Female length: 5.5 - 8 mm (2)
Male length: 5 - 6.5 mm (2)
Top

Wolf spider biology

This wolf spider does not make a web, but hunts its prey during the day by sight, chasing insects and leaping on them.

Males reach maturity from spring to mid-summer and can be seen performing courtship displays to females on sunny days, waving the legs in a specific 'routine'. The female lays her eggs soon after mating and carries them around in a silk cocoon attached to her body by the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen. After hatching, the spiderlings cling to the female's body for around a week before they disperse (5).

Top

Wolf spider range

Common and widespread in Britain (1).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Wolf spider habitat

This species is found in a wide range of habitats (3), and often in gardens (6).

Top

Wolf spider status

Widespread and very common (1).

Top

Wolf spider threats

This spider is not currently threatened.

Top

Wolf spider conservation

Conservation action has not been targeted at this species.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Find out more

For more on British spiders see:

Top

Authentication

Information authenticated by Dr Peter Merrett of the British Arachnological Society:
http://www.britishspiders.org.uk/index.html

Top

Glossary

Abdomen
In arthropods (crustaceans, insects and arachnids) the abdomen is the hind region of the body, which is usually segmented to a degree (but usually not visibly in spiders). In crustacea (e.g. crabs) some of the limbs attach to the abdomen; in insects the limbs are attached to the thorax (the part of the body nearest to the head) and not the abdomen. In vertebrates the abdomen is the part of the body that contains the internal organs (except the heart and lungs).
Cocoon
A sheath of silk, which is spun around the pupae of some insects (a pupa is a stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis).
Palps
In invertebrates, palps are sensory appendages located near the mouth.
Spinnerets
Tube-like, movable silk handling structures found at the tip of the abdomen (the hind region of the body) in spiders. There are four pairs of these organs, but in most species there are fewer (usually three). The silk is produced by the silk organs as a liquid, which passes through the spinnerets and is put under tension until the silk becomes a solid thread.
Top

References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (Jan 2003):
    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Roberts, M. J (1993) The spiders of Great Britain and Ireland, part 1- text. Harley Books, Colchester.
  3. Roberts, M. J. (1995) Collins field guide- spiders of Britain and Northern Europe. Harper Collins Publishers, London.
  4. Cloudsley-Thomson, J.L. & Sankey, J (1961) Land Invertebrates. Methuen & Co Ltd., London.
  5. Peter Merrett (2003) Pers. comm.
  6. Nichols, D., Cooke, J., Whiteley, D. (1971) The Oxford Book of Invertebrates. Oxford University press, Oxford.
X
Close

Image credit

Female wolf spider carrying young on back  
Female wolf spider carrying young on back

© Steve Hopkin / www.ardea.com

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
London
SE3 0BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401
ardea@ardea.co.uk
http://www.ardea.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Wolf spider (Pardosa amentata) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in the Wytham Woods eco-region

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog