The common name “Wolf Spider” reflects that these are hunting spiders and will chase their prey; the family name and typical genus Lycosa are from the Greek word for wolf. These spiders are often big and hairy which alarms some people, but they are primarily nuisance pests.
Their color is usually dark brown, often with paler stripes or markings, or sometimes yellow with dark stripes or markings. Legs are long and spiny. The egg sac is about 1/2” in diameter and contains about 100-135 eggs per sac.
Wolf spiders actively hunt during the night and sometimes during the day. They are fast on their feet and pursue prey. Because of these habits, they are commonly seen by people. Wolf spiders often alarm people because they are big, hairy, and run fast.
Some wolf spider species build retreats consisting of either a shallow excavation under a stone, or a tube/burrow running vertically or diagonally into the ground. They leave their burrows primarily at night to hunt insect prey in the surrounding area. They can also be found in landscape timbers, firewood, under decks, in leaf litter, etc.
They may enter structures in search of prey. Although they are not inclined to be permanent residents in structures, once inside, they often stay. Inside, they tend to stay at or near floor level, especially along walls under furniture and other objects. Wolf spiders may be brought indoors with firewood.
The Wolf Spider is often confused with the Brown Recluse Spider.