The wolf spider is a reasonably large, hairy spider
common pretty much everywhere. Wolf spider actually refers to any member of the family Lycosidae
), which includes about 125 species in North America and 50 in Europe. They are ground spiders, meaning they do not associate with webs and actively hunt and pursue their prey on the ground. They can move pretty quickly. They usually live under stones, logs, or leaves or in a burrow or nest in the ground. Occasionally one will wander indoors. Species of the genus Pirata
tend to live near streams or ponds. Probably the best known wolf spider is the tarantula
. Eggs are contained in a sac attached to the female's spinnerets
, and the young ride her back for a few days after birth. They are not poisonous, though bites may occur.
As anyone who has seen one can attest, wolf spiders are usually really, really, nasty looking. Think big, nasty, hairy spider with big jaw-like things hanging off the front. They aren't really dangerous, although I wouldn't pick one up or anything, and they do eat other insects. I've heard that they make nice pets
, if you're into that kind of thing.
All genus/species information adapted from britannica.com