Wolf spiders belong to the Lycosidae family, and the United States is home to dozens of wolf spider species that are located in every region of the country. Several wolf spider species are either native to, or have become established in Massachusetts. Some of these wolf spider species include the thin-legged wolf spider, the rabid wolf spider, and the enormous Carolina wolf spider. Wolf spiders are one of the most abundant groups of spiders within residential yards, and they are one of the most common spider types that citizens submit to university extension offices for species identification. Since wolf spiders are abundant on residential lawns, it is not uncommon to spot the arachnids within homes, especially during the colder months. Wolf spider infestations can occur when a sizable amount of the spiders establish shelter within an obscured area of a home where dead insects provide a lasting food source. Unfortunately, these infestations are often hard to manage.
Wolf spiders dwell within tree hollows or burrows in soil. These burrows either exist naturally or are created by the spiders. Wolf spiders gravitate into yards where plant litter, loose soil and hollowed trees are prevalent. Wolf spiders are aggressive hunters of other insects, and they are not picky about the insects they eat when food becomes scarce. When insects become scarce outdoors during the colder months, wolf spiders will sometimes venture indoors in order to prey upon insects or to locate insect corpses. Although wolf spiders can inflict painful bites due to their potent venom and large-sized fangs, experts largely agree that their bites are not medically significant.
Wolf spiders can frighten residents due to their relatively large body size and hairy exterior. One of the largest wolf spider species that exists in Massachusetts is known as the rabid wolf spider. Rabid wolf spiders are named for their aggressive demeanor toward their prey and even toward humans, as this species is known for intimidating humans with threatening bodily displays. Luckily, however, this species is not inclined to bite humans. The largest sized wolf spider species in North America also exists within Massachusetts and this species is known as the Carolina wolf spider. This species is well adapted to a variety of climatic conditions and they are often spotted on sandy coastlines in the state. The Carolina wolf spider species has a body size measuring nearly 3 inches in length in addition to a significant leg span.
Have you ever spotted more than one wolf spider within your home?