Wolf spider (Pardosa amentata)

GenusPardosa (1)
SizeFemale length: 5.5 - 8 mm (2)
Male length: 5 - 6.5 mm (2)

Widespread and very common (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).

Common and widespread in Britain (1).

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

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).

This spider is not currently threatened.

Conservation action has not been targeted at this species.

For more on British spiders see:

Information authenticated by Dr Peter Merrett of the British Arachnological Society:

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (Jan 2003):
  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.