Monday, August 28, 2017

Rabid Wolf Spider

With a name like Rabid Wolf Spider, they sound like the stuff of nightmares and for anyone with arachnophobia these large, often defensive spiders would be. While the name suggests a maniacal, crazed spider that will chase you down and attack you, this simply is not true. While they are prone to stand their ground and may behave in a way that suggests aggression, they usually will choose to run away. Like all spiders they have venom that is used to liquefy the insides of their insect prey, the venom isn't known to hold any medical significance to humans though. While harmless, the bite would be painful, after all they do have large fangs.

Rabid Wolf Spiders (Rabidosa rabida) are found throughout the Eastern United States and are more frequently encountered in the fall when the large females are roaming around, often carrying an egg sac with them, or perhaps a passel of spiderlings on their backs. They are very protective, attentive mothers that will carry their offspring with them for up to 6 months. This added protection helps guarantee their protege will survive to carry on theirs and their partners genetics to the next generation.

There are several species of wolf spiders in this genus, and there is one that looks almost identical to the Rabid Wolf Spider. The Dotted Wolf Spider (Rabidosa punctulata) has a series of dots on their abdomen, if you are able to see them. Both are predominately yellow with bold dark brown or black stripes. On the Rabid Wolf Spider, the stripe is wavy and enclosed by lighter areas. The males have black front legs. Both are large with body lengths up to 1 inch and legspans up to 3 inches.
Rabid Wolf Spider
Dotted Wolf Spider

Depending upon how you feel about spiders, if you want to find them look in wooded areas, in areas where trash piles up, near ponds or other water sources and they seem especially fond of cotton fields.....or if you don't wish to find them avoid those types of places.

Unlike orb weavers that build beautiful, elaborate webs, wolf spiders use silk to create egg sacs for their eggs and to wrap their food up to consume later. They do not create webs for capturing prey, instead they are wandering spiders that roam around looking for good hunting grounds, then they will sit and wait for food to come to them. They will slowly stalk any prey that happens to wander too close, and then pounce, much like a cat would do, grabbing their prey and injecting venom that begins dissolving tissue which allows the spider to slurp out the liquefied insides like an insect slurpee. Some liken their behavior to wolves who also stalk their prey, and this wolf-like or dog-like stalking behavior is what earned them the common name of wolf spiders.
They are predominantly nocturnal, and hunt for food under the protection of nightfall. Wolf spiders make huge protein packed meals for hungry birds and other animals.

 
This particular species is long lived for a spider and may live up to 2 years or little longer. In colder climates they will hide out under logs, behind the bark of trees or in human structures. I find wolf spiders in my basement frequently and they are allowed to stay for the free insect control they provide. If they make it upstairs in my living area I gently escort them outside.

If you have have a phobia of spiders the thought of letting a spider live outside your home can bring about a panic attack, letting them live inside your house is down right unthinkable. I understand this completely as someone who had arachnophobia most of her life. I spent 4 years conquering my fear and now I am enamored with spiders and own 3 tarantulas. No more killing spider for me. I would encourage others to let the spiders live and try to put your fear aside and recognize the good they are doing by getting rid of harmful insects like cockroaches, crickets and other pests.


10 comments:

  1. I have found some big ones. I got bit by something Sunday and my lower arm has discolored.Major welt.

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    1. Sounds like Brown Recluse. I hope you got help from a doctor. Wolf Spider bites are more localized.

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    2. Jumping to conclusions without the facts first is never a good idea. Do we even know where this person lives?

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  2. Sorry, you are simply ignorant, Rabidosa Rabida, the large abundant wolf spider does attack people to suck blood. These spiders consume only liquid food. That they are well known for this is easy to check with long time Oklahoma residential families, like my dental assistant in Drumright, OK. They are perhaps the most abundant species of animals here, they "carpet your lawn" (Wikipedia) in a good year. Fortunately, they were wiped out by bad Spring weather this year 2017. -- The gentleman with an arm bitten needs to see a doctor, sounds like Brown Recluse. Rabid Wolf Spider bites are more localized.

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    1. I don’t appreciate being called ignorant by someone who clearly does not understand anything about these particular spiders. Wolf spiders are not harmful to humans in anyway. Their bite would be painful but nothing compared to what a brown recluse or a black widow would be. Even a brown recluse only poses a health risk to a small percentage of people who are prone to reactions. These spiders are beneficial And control vast amounts a pest insect like cockroaches. Every single bite that a person gets does not necessarily require medical attention. Sometimes just cleaning the area and applying an antibiotic ointment is enough.

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    2. Dear Shelly, this is just not fair. Quoting my dental assistant: "Wolf spiders are no fun." I had to explain to her the bite marks I got almost nightly in my mouth from R. rabida sucking blood from puncture marks on the inside of my lips. True, they didn't kill me, but "no fun" for sure. And sometimes from behind the ear. These spiders are huge! --You are wrong about Loxosceles spiders as well. Highly evolved, intelligent, they will bite again after laying in ambush. All are "susceptible" to their venom, all can get necrotic ulcers. Wikipedia: There are fatalities. Your brand of defending noxious critters is silly.

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    3. I'm not sure if you're serious or you're just trolling. If this is really happening to you then please video tape it and send it off to the spider experts. They will want to study your experience and write new papers. This is not a known spider behavior by any experts in the field.

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    4. Hi Lynette, please read following notice to Shelly. I am inviting the two of you now, not just Shelly. Of course I am not a troll, an 83 (almost) year scientist. Send email. Your reply to me is very nesrly sensational in the amount of ignorance among zoologists, if you are one.--Of course all ground spiders consider any animal prey (soft skin or carapace) by simple logic, silly. Their eurypterid ancestors were apex predators 500 million years ago, and their descendants have kept that mindset, just like eagles still kill mammals, being surviving dinosaurs that are supposed to be gone. THINK HOLISTIC . .!!

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  3. Fair or not your comments make no sense to someone who understands theshe spiders. I can 100% guarantee that whatever bites you were receiving inside your lip while you slept were not, and I repeat NOT from a spider. There is an insect called a bloodsucking Conenose Bug that could’ve been the culprit, but it definitely was not a spider.Unless your dental assistance is an Arachnologist I put no faith in her opinion. Because it is just that an opinion. While I will agree a bite from a wolf spider can be quite painful, however unless you are allergic to the proteins in the venom you will have no serious side effects. Wolf spiders only ambush the prey items they are after which include insects and other spiders. They do not lay in wait for humans and come out to attack them. I am not wrong about brown recluses either. You might benefit from reading a book titled the Brown Recluse. It is a fact based book written by a scientist who studied the recluse spiders. Only about 10% of those bitten will have a reaction to the brown recluse bite, the other 90% of the people who receive a bite will never know they are bitten beyond a small itchy wound that heals up quite quickly. For The other 10% who do have a reaction it can be medically significant. There is no reason to live in fear of spiders. The beneficial insect control that they provide far outweighs any negative impact they may have on humans. I would not trust Wikipedia as a source, often the pages that are written are not backed up with any scientific facts. Anybody can write a Wikipedia page..., it doesn’t make it true. I have always been a defender of what you called noxious critters, because they get a bad rap when they don’t deserve one. Unfortunately there are many bites that are blamed on the brown recluse, even in areas Outside their range and this has unfortunately earn them a bad reputation all across North America. Deaths from the brown recluse are so extremely rare that it certainly isn’t a reason to live in fear Of them. Wolf spiders are amazing spiders and they do not need to be vilified.

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  4. Dear Shelly, you are an absolute sweetheart, I am sure, but are just stating your own opinions to which you are certainly entitled, and of other, similarly minded people. I would tell you spider stories for an afternoon or two, if you are willing to travel to Oklahoma. We might meet at a nice restaurant in our town, do you like Mexican? Although 83 years of age in a few weeks, with a few disabilities, I am willing to make the effort. Please bring a tape recorder for your field notes=my stories.--BTW, we need to mention the Parson Spider, also a ground-spider and attacking people with a bad bite. The Black Widow is harmless, never attacks people unless you put your arm down the log pile where she has her nest. I have had a resident Brown Widow in the house for years. -- The problem with animal behavior that you fail to take into account is that they are driven by simple logic: For R. rabida it is that they like liquid food, so blood is their equivalent of Peking Duck. Because I am H. sapiens, I eventually outsmarted numerous spiders and killed them all, after which the bites stopped. Recently, as I wrote I had my siding repaired, so bugs can't just walk into the house. It was a bad year for R. rabida. I can relate the exact details for your research paper. Somehow we need to exchange email addresses but I don't know how. You might like my research papers on human and animal behavior from a metaphysical angle, that could help you become a better scientist. Google those and find my email, will you please?

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