Book Review: Wolf Spiders by Joanne Randolph, in Nightmare Creatures: Spiders! Series Title #6

by DerdriuMarriner

Wolf Spiders is Nightmare Creatures: Spiders! series title #6. Joanne Randolph offers facts on the wolf spider's bio-geography, life cycle, and natural history.

Wolf spiders are Lycosidae family members within the arachnid order of mites, scorpions, spiders, and ticks. More than 2,000 extra-polar species belong to the wolf spider family of tarantula look-alikes. They carry their common name from wolf-like:
• black, brown, grey, orange marks or stripes;
• furry, hairy coats;
• hunting -- not web-ambushing -- beetles, cockroaches, and grasshoppers;
• keen vision; and
• sharp fangs.

Scientists describe wolf spiders':
• employing eight head-attached legs for running and two head-attached pedipalps for mating;
• having a bottom set of four small eyes, middle set of two big eyes, and top set of two smaller eyes;
• projecting eye-shine in flashlight; and
• sporting spinnerets -- for weaving webbed shelters, not traps -- attached to the abdomen.

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website: http://www.rosenpublishing.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40

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General distribution of Wolf Spiders

Theraphosidae habitat distribution, drawn after Platnick: World Spider Catalog 7.0.
Theraphosidae habitat distribution, drawn after Platnick: World Spider Catalog 7.0.

Hunters stalked and stalking on land and water

 

Any spider equals all spiders in fulfilling ecological niches as:

  • beneficial predators whose crepuscular and nocturnal forages control population levels of garden and household insect pests;
  • keystone species whose environmental obligations ensure bio-geographical harmony; and
  • nutritious prey whose crunchy exo-skeletons and softer interiors appeal to arthropods (praying mantises, spider wasps, spiders), birds, reptiles, and rodents. 

Scientists find wolf spiders arthropods of interest for:

  • diving;
  • spinning webbed homes, not traps, on water surfaces; and
  • swimming.

Wolf spiders also get noticed for:

  • clutches of 100 to 300 eggs in silken balls of 24 each under maternal abdomens;
  • hatchlings piggy-backing mothers two weeks; and
  • female two-year and male one-year life expectancies.

They have reputations for: 

  • painfully venomous bites; and 
  • strangle-holds. 

 

100 baby spiders on her back: Female Wolf Spiders transport their hatchlings on their backs.

Grande Baie, Riviere du Rempart, northeastern Mauritius
Grande Baie, Riviere du Rempart, northeastern Mauritius

Jugglers niching in less and more cultivated habitats

 

Despite assertive behaviors and scary appearances, the wolf spider is less threatening to most people than the arachnid is to many animals. People generally judge wolf spiders as harmless in animal and human interactions. They know that a wolf spider's bite is painfully harmless to humans unless the patient numbers among the few whose allergic reaction is rare but serious.

People still learn to leave them alone since even the largest -- South Carolina's state spider, the giant wolf spider, with 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) bodies and 4-inch (10-centimeter) leg-spans -- has super-fast reflexes. Swift actions and reactions indeed make the wolf spider's most unusual representative -- Hawaii's eyeless Kaua'i cave wolf spider -- daunting to cross and elude.

 

Kauai Cave Wolf Spider, an eyeless spider native to Kauai, is known to locals as pe'e pe'e maka 'ole:

Kauai Cave Wolf Spider is found only in the lava tubes and cave-bearing rock in Kauai's Koloa Basin. The known population of perhaps fewer than 30 individuals - regularly dwells in a single cave.
Kaua‘i cave wolf spider (Adelocosa anops)
Kaua‘i cave wolf spider (Adelocosa anops)

Leaders of publications on cultural enrichment, environmental education

 

The PowerKids Press-released Wolf Spiders numbers as title #6 in The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. of New York's Nightmare Creatures: Spiders! series. The info-science publication offers readers aged 8 to 12 years in grades third to seventh grade culturally enriching and educationally entertaining insights into wolf spider bio-geographies through 24 pages divided into: 

  • Ten chapters; 
  • index; and
  • glossary. 

It provides memorable illustrative and textual information thanks to timely release in 2014 and timeless relevance through: 

  • book designer Andrew Povolny; 
  • editors Norman D. Graubart and Jennifer Way; 
  • photo researcher Katie Stryker; 
  • photographers Evgeniy Ayupov, Adrian Chinery, Gregory G Dinijian, Mr. Green, Damian Herde, Cathy Keifer, Henrik Larsson, Dr. Mosley Reed, and Millard H. Sharp; and 
  • writer Joanne Randolph. 

 

Predator as prey: Spider Hunter Wasp (Tachypompilus ferrugineus) dragging paralyzed Wolf Spider

Spider Hunter Wasp (Tachypompilus ferrugineus) dragging paralyzed Wolf Spider

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Considered to be North America's largest wolf spider, Carolina Wolf Spider also is recognized as state spider of U.S. state of South Carolina:

Female Carolina Wolf Spiders may attain a body length ranging from 0.87 inches (22 mm) to 1.4 inches (35 mm).
Hogna carolinsis eating a fuzzy mouse
Hogna carolinsis eating a fuzzy mouse

Sources Consulted

 

Randolph, Joanne. 2014. Wolf Spiders. PowerKids Press: Nightmare Creatures: Spiders! Series Title #6. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. 

 

Wolf Spider as seen within a home in Maricopa City, Pinal County, Arizona: roughly 1 inch (25 mm) while legs were retracted.

Taken with a Fuji S2000HD with super-macro setting under standard room lighting
Taken with a Fuji S2000HD with super-macro setting under standard room lighting
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Wolf Spider, Female, Florida, Ocala National Forest: poster available via AllPosters

photo by David M. Dennis
Wolf Spider, Female, Florida, Ocala National Forest

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/11/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/12/2015

dustytoes, It unfortunately is important for people to know what tarantula and wolf spiders look like because otherwise a first-time, unwarned sighting can freeze someone in place. But then warned or not, seeing a super-big, super-hairy goliath tarantula -- the world's biggest known spider at 12 inches (30.48 centimeters) long -- is not one of the many upsides to time spent in Brazil.

dustytoes on 03/12/2015

Wow, your photos here are too realistic for comfort... hahaha...I remember stepping on a wolf spider when I lived in Florida and the baby spiders scattered everywhere... I thought it was creepy and disgusting! I try to be accepting of nature, but these big hairy spiders creep me out.
You need to put a warning at the top of this article!

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