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wolf spider

wolf spider (Gladicosa pulchra) [female] [male]
Photo © Hank Guarisco

Features and Behaviors

Wolf spiders are very common and have four small eyes below four large eyes. The arrangement of the eyes allows them to see in all directions. Individuals of this species range from gray to brown in coloration. No matter the shade, though, there is a light-colored band in the midline of the cephalothorax. The female of this species is about six-tenths inch in total body length, while the male is slightly smaller, a little less then one-half inch.

This species lives in woodlands. Gladicosa pulchra hunts on the ground, in leaf litter and in trees. Adults are active from spring through fall. Females carry the egg sac with them, and after the young hatch, the females carry them for about two weeks. These wolf spiders are hunters, and catch prey by waiting in a spot, then rapidly moving to bite it or cage it in its legs before biting it.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Lycosidae

Illinois Status: common, native