|Photo Credit: Michael Palmer|
Most spiders catch their prey by ambushing it in the silken webs they spin on plants, trees, walls, and fences. Wolf spiders, instead, hunt down and catch their prey with the help of their acute eyesight.
Wolf spiders live successfully in a wide variety of habitats, where they are often the most dominant of the small predators. Their habitats include deserts, temperate and tropical forests, swamps, and mountain at lower elevations. Still, the habitat in which they are most commonly found is grassland, and they are especially abundant on the prairies of North America.
The wolf spider lies in wait for small insects and other spiders and pounces on its prey when it comes within reach. Holding its victim in its strong legs and grasping it between powerful jaws, the spider crushes the animal and feeds on it juices. Wo
lf spiders generally hunt in the daytime. At night, they hide in shallow burrows, where they are safe from predators. Some species spin silk to line their burrows, but unlike web-spinning (orb) spiders, the wolf spider does not use its silk to trap prey.
Did you know?
- The hunting wasp stings and paralyzes the wolf spider in it burrow, and leaves its own larvae behind to feed on the dying spider's body.
- Young wolf spiders cling to their mother's back but they never cover her eyes, which she uses to spot her prey.
- The true tarantula is actually a European wolf spider. It is not the large, bird-eating spider that is often referred to as a tarantula.