How common are wolf spiders

The wolf spider

Caring mother

Spiders have always had a far-reaching fascination for people. There are around 1000 species in Germany. The wolf spiders form a family of their own among these.

Wolf spider - Photo: Helge May

Let's admit it: Who doesn't get a feeling of disgust when they're supposed to touch such a hairy, eight-legged crawling creature? Nevertheless, spiders have always had a far-reaching fascination for people. About 1000 species of arachnids have been recorded in Germany. They include not only spiders themselves, but also harvestmen, scorpions, mites and ticks. They all have four pairs of legs in common. The wolf spiders form a family among these. There are around 75 species of them in Germany.

Eight eyes on the head

This spider family probably got its name from the way they hunt. Because wolf spiders do not weave webs, but hunt, thanks to their well-trained eyesight. Insects such as ground beetles, grasshoppers and fly larvae, but also other spiders, can be used as food. The eight eyes on the head ensure that hunting by ambush works so well. Four small and four large. The four large eyes are arranged like a trapezoid - a good distinguishing feature of the wolf spiders. Here, wolf spiders can grow up to two centimeters long. Not counting the legs! You can recognize them by their compact, gray-brown colored body and strong legs.

The hunt takes place at night

The larger representatives live in caves in the earth, which they line with silk on the inside. Others live in low vegetation or between stones, where they lay webs of living space. At night the wolf spiders leave their hiding place and go hunting. In strategically favorable places, they wait for an insect to come by. Then, all of a sudden, they rush forward and grab their prey. Like all spiders, the wolf spiders are pure carnivores. We humans can also benefit from their hunting strategy. After all, they like to eat aphids and other garden pests that linger on the ground.

Caring mothers

The brood care of the wolf spiders is particularly impressive. They attach their egg cocoons to their spinnerets and always carry it around with them. This is the best way to protect the offspring from enemies. Wolf spiders help their offspring hatch by biting open the cocoon. Immediately afterwards the little spiders climb onto the mother's back and let themselves be carried around. While up to a hundred small wolf spiders cling to their mother's hair, often sitting in several layers on top of each other and feeding on their egg yolk, the wolf spider refrains from hunting to avoid dangers.

Spiders are very sensitive to fluctuations in the environment. The numerous species have very different habitat requirements. This makes it possible to recognize even minor changes in the environment in the behavior of the spider fauna.