Wolf Spiders in Pennsylvania

A wolf spider can be very large in size.
A wolf spider can be very large in size. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

There are many different types of spider species in Pennsylvania and some of the most common people see are wolf spiders. There are two main varieties of wolf spiders found in the state, and they are pretty easy to identify. They can be found around yards and even in people’s homes.

General Information

There are 13 different types of wolf spiders found in the U.S. The genus Hogna contains numerous types of wolf spider species, including the ones most likely found in Pennsylvania. Of the different types, H. carolinesis and H. aspera, are the two largest and most commonly found wolf spider species in Pennsylvania.

Physical Description

H. carolinesis female wolf spiders are 22 to 35 millimeters in length, while males are 18 to 20 millimeters in length. The body is mostly dark brown. It also has scattered gray hair that are not arranged in any special pattern. The legs will be a similar solid color. There is a darker dorsal stripe that appears on the abdomen. H. aspera female wolf spiders are 18 to 25 millimeters in length, while the males are 16 to 18 millimeters. They have similar brown body color when compared to the H. carolinesis species. However, they do have a yellow line of hairs on the upper abdomen near the eyes. The females are also much darker in color than the males.

Habbitat and Breeding

All Pennsylvania wolf spiders will live in similar habitats. They normally build tunnels in the ground, under rocks, in between boards, in firewood bundles, under siding or any other place that provides good protection. They are considered to be a hunting spider, so they will only appear at night when hunting prey. May or June is when egg cocoons are created and June or July will be when they are hatched. It is not uncommon to see mother spiders carrying baby spiders on their back during the summer months.

Medical Implications

Wolf spiders can bight if they are picked up or are trapped next to a person’s skin. The venom is not poisonous or very harmful to humans. This is good, because of their large size, if their venom was more potent they would be a very dangerous spider. Initial pain and redness are the two most serious symptoms that occur after a bite. No serious medical reactions have been recorded yet from a wolf spider bite in Pennsylvania.

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