Skip to main content

It's a Wolf Spider, a very big Wolf Spider.

Curious about something you saw while walking in the woods?  Spot the coolest bug ever?  The prettiest flower and butterfly?  Stumble on a rock and found a fossil? Or was it? This is the place to show your discoveries and share the knowledge of the natural world right outside our doors. Join in the fun everyday at The Daily Bucket.  
October 2013
Well I said I was done with spiders last week but darn if the next day I didn't see this awesome beauty. It was hard to miss as it scooted out from under my shower stall when I was blowing leaves around.

Here's a photo from a few feet away as I struggled to get my iPhone out and ready to shoot before it zipped away. Next to the 8" Southern Magnolia leaves it doesn't look all that big in this photo. As a nod to those who really do not like spiders, close-ups and more information about this tremendous Wolf Spider are down below the fold.


I figured this was a wolf spider (Lycosidae family) but way bigger than any I had seen before, and the color was much darker, not the usual light brown. I knew I was going to need better photos if I had any chance of identification. You would have laughed to see me chasing after it. I step forward and bend over, it scoots away, another step, off it goes, repeat... Finally it stopped. Maybe it realized I meant no harm; maybe it thought it blended in; or maybe, since they are sensitive to vibrations, I quit making so much noise.

In the shade this spider was camouflaged, in the morning sun not so much. Bending down to within a foot with my phone, I got my photos and then left it alone to find a safe spot. Since most wolf spiders hide during the day and hunt for prey at night, I was lucky to have found it.

So photos taken, it's off to Bug Guide to suss it out. 30 minutes later I had it narrowed down to 2 species in the genera Hogna or Tigrosa. I was right on both, sorta. The Giant or Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis) seemed like a winner just by the name, and it is common in the Southeast. But viewing other photos, this one was not as colorful and did not have the stripes on the legs like my spider.

Bug Guide has this description for the genus Tigrosa.  

The name is derived from the tiger because of the fierce nature of the species and in recognition of the stripes on the dorsal surface of the body and contrasting dark and light markings on the legs of most species. According to Don Cameron (2005) the genus (ed. family) name Lycosa means "fierce like a wolf"; therefore, Tigrosa can be freely translated as "fierce like a tiger."
I glossed over the fierce part, thankful I did not try to flip it over for the ventral view like BG suggested for spider ID, but the striped legs sure make it tiger-like.

This one seemed most likely - Tigrosa georgicola  

Size: Body length of females 16-22mm; males 10-17mm.
Range: Widely distributed in the southeastern USA.
Habitat: Often found in deciduous woods, under logs during the day and hunting over leaf litter at night.
Previously placed in the genus Allocosa (by mistake); subsequently referred to as Hogna georgicola by many people up until Brady's 2012 revision transferred it to the genus Tigrosa.

Size: check, mine was around an inch altho it looked bigger.
Range: yup, southeast
Habitat: got it, in the woods and lots of leaf litter.
If you would like a more technical, scientific description, try this.

T. georgicola - venter of abdomen with three central dark stripes originating at the epigastric furrow and converging at base of spinnerets (much darker-looking than T. helluo); median stripe on carapace extends from the eye region all the way across to the posterior declivity; sometimes with 3 dark bands on dorsal surfaces of femora III and IV.
I think I understand half of that but give me the pictures please. Anyways, once I had the name I looked to other websites for confirmation. This one called Florida Nature is great; photos and descriptions of fungi, animals and plants, mostly of Tallahassee & FL Panhandle.
The page on Hogna georgicola (from 2005, thus the old name which I now knew about) shows a female with egg case.

I did read that Wolf spiders may eat frogs and toads but I'm not really sure of that. I only found one general reference so if anyone knows better, please share. This little toad, hopping around in the same area, is certainly smaller than my spider, barely the size of a small acorn cap.

Speaking of acorns, I sweep dozens off my deck everyday as they drop from the big overhanging Live Oak. A great year for hickories too; already the squirrels are moving in. They'd be OK if they stayed in the woods and off my deck. That rail is not your eating station, you never clean up, and you have no right to bark at me! Humph!

By the way, the Golden Silk Orbweaver from last week is gone, disappeared a few days ago. The web is still there. The tiny iridescent Orchard Orbweavers that like to build their webs off that web are still there too. I'm hoping she laid her eggs in the crack of a nearby tree before ending her excellent summer of hanging out and entertaining me.

I'll set this bucket to publish around 9 but will not be home till after noon. Volunteer work day pulling privets again, right across the GA border from here at Wolf Creek Preserve. Wonder if there are Wolf Spiders at Wolf Creek?  

And The Daily Bucket is now open for your thoughts and observations...

.............................................
"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!

and posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.


Originally posted to Backyard Science on Tue Oct 08, 2013 at 06:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site