Wolf spiders

Family Lycosidae


Lycosa species

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These spiders are real hunters and have excellent eyesight. They are rather big and are easily spotted on places in the sun, often at damp places. If you spot spiders speeding away on the ground and several spiders have white sacs attached to their spinnerets at the back of their body you can be sure you deal with wolf spiders.
Their name "wolf spider" is derived from the fact that people erroneously thought they hunted in groups like wolves. In Australia there are 130 descibes species in nine genera.
The spider lives in every variety of terrestrial habitats. They can even been found on the water skating over it and even diving under the surface catching small fish and insects.
The cephalothorax (head-breast part) is elongated and usually high and narrowed in the front. They have eight eyes. Four small ones are located at the lower part of the face. Immediately above these there are two large eyes looking forward and father back there are also two big eyes that look upward. In this way the spider can look in four directions and can perceive moving insect at a distance of several inches. The legs and chelicera (jaws) are robust. The spider vigorously attacks her prey crushing it with her stout chelicera.

The majority of the genera carry their eggs in an egg sac attached at the back of their abdomen. Some genera (Arctosa, Trochosa and Alopecosa) keep their eggs under the ground in web coated holes or tubes. The youngsters crawl on top of the abdomen of the mother and stay there until they change their skin for the first time. The female spider is a creature with a variable temper. Notorious for her rapacious activities, she displays solicitude for her eggs and young that can scarcely be met by any other spider. Her egg-sac, attached to her spinnerets, is a precious thing she will defend with her life. Her instinct is very powerful but she also can be easily fooled. When her egg sac is changed for something artificial, like a piece of cork or a wad of paper or cotton, she also will defend the artificial sac with her life. After two or three weeks, her young develop to a point where they can leave the sac. The mother bite open the sac and within a few hours all the young has climbed on the abdomen where they will stay until their first change of skin. During that time the mother will engage her normal hunting activities with her young tightly attached to her body. When the young are brushed from her body they will crawl back very quickly. In the time the young are attached at the body of their mother they do not eat. Their bodies are supplied with enough food to live during this period. The youngsters do drink water during their stay by drinking dewdrops in the morning.


Genus Artoria and Artoriopsis

Artoria mckayi
Artoria mckayi by Robert Whyte Artoriopsis expolita by Robert Whyte

Genus Hoggicosa

Hoggicosa bicolor
Hoggicosa bicolor NT by Robert and Leoni Read  

In Australia ten species are described in this genus.

Hoggicosa bicolor is one of the spectacular wolf spiders in Australia.The spider is common in arid zones and can be found Western NSW, NT, WA, SA, QLD.
The males measure 10 - 20 mm while the females are 20 - 25 mm.

  Hoggicosa bicolor WA by Darryl Clune
Hoggicosa bicolor
Hoggicosa bicolor WA by Darryl Clune Hoggicosa bicolor WA by Ray Smith
Hoggicosa castanea (alfi?) by Kate Daymon, Leinster WA Hoggicosa castanea by Kate Daymon, Leinster WA
The spider lives in a borrow underground. The borrow is closed with a door making the hole almost invisible. The lid can be seen at the picture under the left hind leg of the spider.
Hoggicosa castanea
occurs in the southern states of Australia

Genus Lycosa, Pardosa, Arctosa

Lycosa godeffroyi Lycosa godeffroyi
Lycosa godeffroyi Lycosa godeffroyi
Lycosa_ZZ130 Lycosa_ZZ130
Lycosidae ZZ130, Halls Gap, Victoria Lycosidae ZZ130, Halls Gap, Victoria
Lycosa furcillata, male, Giru, Queensland Lycosa furcillata, female with youngsters
Lycosa musgravei Lycosa musgravei
Lycosa musgravei, Marabee, Queensland Lycosa musgravei, Marabee, Queensland
Lycosa_ZZ142 Lycosa_ZZ145
Lycosidae ZZ142, Crampians, Victoria Lycosidae ZZ145, Warrnabool, Victoria
Pardosa ZZ144 Lycosa ZZ158
Pardosa ZZ144, Warrnambool, Victoria Lycosa pictiventris, Brisbane, Queensland
Lycosa ZZ160 Lycosa ZZ160
Lycosa ZZ160, Carnavon, Queensland Lycosa ZZ160, Carnavon, Queensland
Arctosa? ZZ141 Arctosa? ZZ141
Arctosa? ZZ141, Crampians, Victoria Arctosa? ZZ141, Crampians, Victoria
Lycosa ZZ359 Brisbane Lycosa ZZ359 Brisbane
Lycosa ZZ567 Lycosa ZZ567
Lycosa ZZ567 NSW Lycosa ZZ567 NSW

Genus Tetralycosa

   
Tetralycosa oraria VIC by Lachlan Knowles  
Tetralycosa oraria, beach wolf spider, is mainly found on beaches and sand dunes along the southern coast of mainland Australia VIC, SA, NSW, WA and Tasmania
Tetralycosa oraria VIC by Lachlan Knowles  

Genus Venator

The spider is common in and around Perth.
Venator immansueta WA  

Genus Venonia
White dotted wolf spider

 

The white dot on the tail is characteristic for this genus.The spider measures 3-4 mm.
The spider spins a sheet web without a retreat. The spiders hunt on the ground.
Females attach a sherical egg-sac to their spinnerets and the young are carried on the abdomen of the female.
Venonia micarioides VIC  
Venonia micarioides VIC Venonia micarioides VIC

 

Lycosid ZZ448 Lycosid ZZ336
Lycosid ZZ448 by Wendy Eiby Lycosid ZZ336 by Colin Halliday
Lycosid_ZZ270 Lycosid_ZZ270
Lycosid ZZ270 by Jurgen Otto Lycosid ZZ270 by Jurgen Otto
Lycosid ZZ550 Lycosid ZZ515
Lycosid ZZ550 by Robert Whyte Lycosid ZZ515 by Robert Whyte
   

Identification of wolf spiders is difficult from only a picture. At the moment the genera of wolf spider are revised and genus names are added often.

In 2011 a good reference site for Australian wolfspider is from Volker Framenau here: http://www.lycosidae.info/identification/australia/

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Ed Nieuwenhuys, 20 january 2012
20 january 2011,
28 june 2010, januari 4, 2009, march 2005, Ronald Loggen 1997

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