I keep finding these in my house

Asked October 15, 2017, 12:00 PM EDT

Can you please tell me what kind of spider this is?
I thought I knew but my friend is telling me it's not what I think it is.

Davidson County North Carolina spider identification wolf spider

1 Response

Thank you for your question. Identifying a spider based on a photograph alone can be very difficult. Some species have very distinct markings that make identification easy, but, for most spiders, you have to be able to at least examine them under a dissecting microscope to see all of the characteristics necessary to make a positive identification.

The spider in your photograph is in the wolf spider family Lycosidae, but I'm not sure of the genus or species.

Most wolf spiders do not utilize a spider web to capture prey. They are primarily ambush hunters who sit and wait for insect prey to wander by, and then they rush out and bite their prey. If no prey wander by, then they will move to another location and wait. Most are active at night or near dawn or dusk, but some are active during the day. Some wolf spiders build burrows.

Some wolf spider females takes very good care of her egg sac, carrying it along with her until the spiderlings hatch. Then they crawl up on to her back, remaining there for a week or so until they finish their development, and then they disperse, and are on their own.

Like most spiders, the wolf spiders are venomous, but, unless you just happen to be allergic to their venom, like some people are allergic to bee stings, their bite is not considered to pose a serious health risk to humans. It has been compared to a bee or wasp sting. They are generally not aggressive to humans, and only bite if provoked. They usually just try to escape.

Here's a link to the University of Kentucky's Dept. of Entomology's webpage on wolf spiders. They discuss wolf spiders found in Kentucky, and North Carolina has some of the same species. There's also just some good general information on wolf spiders on the page, as well:

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CritterFiles/casefile/spiders/wolf/wolf.htm

An excellent, and relatively inexpensive, field guide for spiders in North Carolina is:

Gaddy, L.L. (2009). Spiders of the Carolinas. Duluth: Kollath + Stensaas Publishing.

It doesn't feature every spider that occurs in the Carolinas, but covers most of the common species.

Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim