Tarantula Wolf Spider

The “Tarantula” Wolf Spider (Lycosa tarantula) is a species of wolf spider that is found near and around the city of Taranto, Italy (called Tarentum in Roman times). This nocturnal species lurks near the opening of its burrow at night waiting for prey. The female lives in her protective burrow her entire life, while the mature male leaves the nest and wanders about looking for mates. The adult male lives for nearly two years, while the female lives up to four years or longer. The spider hibernates in its burrow throughout winter.

The female grows to about 1 inch in length and the male grows to about 0.75 inches. The newly hatched spiderlings will climb onto the mother’s abdomen and stay with her for some time until they are capable of surviving on their own. The bite of this spider is commonly believed to produce sever symptoms called tarantism. This belief has not been proven.

Like most wolf spiders, this species has a tendency to flee at the approach of any large animal or human. The wolf spider has relatively good eyesight and it is unlikely that a human could approach one without being seen, and it is almost impossible to catch one as they keep moving and can run very fast. Therefore, it is unlikely for humans to make unintentional contact with them. If cornered or trapped, they show no tendency to strike out.

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