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Rabid Wolf Spider; All you need to know

Spiders are a group of species that have some unique characteristics that make them fascinating and scary at the same time.

They have a wide range of colors, stripes, patterns, textures, and behaviors, making them quite different from each other.

Rabid Wolf Spider or Rabidosa Rabida is a muddy yellow to brown shaped hairy spider with two dark brown stripes on the cephalothorax and one wide strip on the abdomen. A full-grown adult female Rabid Wolf Spider measures about an inch in size, whereas a Male is half the size of the female.

Rabid wolf spiders have eight eyes, four above and four below, resembling a spider’s mustache. They have eight legs, with the first pair of legs pointing forward and having a black end. The other legs are entirely brown.

Rabida Rabidosa is native to North America and is found in abundance from Maine to Florida and all the way to Texas.

Wolf spiders are different from other species of spiders because they do not spin the web, and they have the ability to hunt down their prey.

The Rabid Wolf Spider is a subclass of Wolf spider and belongs to the genus Rabidosa hence also scientifically named Rabidosa Rabida.

Before you read further, here is a list of hand-picked books to learn more about the world of spiders and bugs.

Common Spiders of North America by Richard A. Bradley
Common Spiders of North America by Richard A. Bradley
  • Field Reference with technical details
  • Great Illustrations
Spiders: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature
Spiders: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature
  • For Kids 5-7 Years
  • Amazing realistic photos
Field Guide to Insects and Spiders: North America
Field Guide to Insects and Spiders: North America
  • Scientific Details
  • Spiders and other common bugs

Appearance and Identification Points of Rabid Wolf Spider

Different species of wolf spiders can often be challenging to differentiate unless you have excellent knowledge and experience dealing with them.

However, no matter how similar they appear, a few intriguing characteristics always help differentiate them easily.

Appearance

The Rabid Wolf spider appears coarse, with small hairs covering the whole body. It has a muddy to slightly brown to greyish color.

The Cephalothorax (the front part) has two parallel long black stripes that converge at the abdomen junction and become a single wide strip with pointed ends.

Rabidosa Rabida has eight eyes; four lie above the body while four lie below. This gives the impression that the spider has a mustache.

The Wolf Spider has eight legs; four eyes point to the front while two lie horizontally and two backward. The front legs have a black foot end, while the others are entirely brown.

Size

The body length of a female Rabid Wolf Spider is longer than the males, with a size of approximately 1 inch. The Males are short and measure between 0.45 to 0.5 inches.

The overall length is around 3 inches for females and 2 inches for males including legs.

Learn more about wolf spider size here.

Bite

The Rabid Wolf Spider is an opportunist hunter and usually chases it to a small distance. Although Rabid Wolf Spiders do not bite humans, they can sometimes frighten them with a quick sudden move.

However, rare cases of bites have been reported but are usually trivial with no major consequences.

Identification Points

Rabid Wolf Spiders can be differentiated from other types of wolf spiders by the following points,

  1. Its distinctive muddy brown color with front black feets
  2. Its small yet noticeable size
  3. Two strips of the cephalothorax and one strip on the abdomen.

Rabid Wolf Spider: Distribution and Habitat

The rabid Wolf Spider is distributed mainly in the Nearctic region. However, they are native to and commonly found from east to central Texas and up to the north of Texas in Nebraska.

Although not too common, they have been found in small numbers in the far east and south parts of the US, such as Maine and Florida.

The Rabid Wolf can also be found outside the US in Canada, Mexico, Spain, and South Africa.

Rabid Wolf Spiders love to live in the wild, mainly around wooded areas and vast cotton fields. However, they can also be seen living inside buildings, apartments, and homes.

Rabida Rabidosa prefers litter, garbage, and rubbish. They are seen hiding in holes, under heavy rocks, and in places with lots of leaves litter.

They are mostly spotted around ponds, lakes, and shady areas with dribbling water during dry summer.

Diet and Life Cycle

Like other spiders, the Rabid Wolf spider is also Carnivorous. However, it does not eat solids but instead sucks fluids from other insects.

Rabida Rabidosa eats insects and other small invertebrates. They love to eat a variety of arthropods, including small crickets, locusts, ants, and beetles. The Rabid Wolf spider is a fearless organism and is not threatened by insects larger than their size.

Predation

The spider hunts its prey by making itself motionless, and once it detects a moving organism and insects, it hunts it down. Wolf spider usually moves under the leaves, ground, and litter to remain stealthy.

However, it is a fearless Archind and stalks its prey from a distance with pristine accuracy. Once it clamps its prey, it makes them motionless and gains full control over them.

Life Cycle of Rabid Wolf Spider

The average life span of Rabid Wolf Spider is two years, while some of them manage to live longer by up to 6 months, depending upon the environmental conditions.

Rabid Wolf spiders have a unique way of reproducing. The Female releases pheromones and weaves a thread that leads the male spider towards her. The male also attracts the female by dancing and adopting certain peculiar moves.

Once the male mates with the female spider, it spurs a web ball and deposits sperms over it. Then the female attaches the web ball to itself and uses it to get fertilized.

After fertilization, the female lays an egg capsule that contains approximately 170 to 350 individual eggs. The capsule stays attached to the female wolf spider, and once the eggs change their color to dark brown, they hatch.

It is essential to know that the spiders do not undergo metamorphosis outside the egg. Instead, they emerge out of the egg, completely transformed into the shape of their adults (Miniature versions of their adults).

Not all the eggs successfully hatch; many of them fail to develop. The newborn nymphs remain attached to the female for up to 6 months because they cannot feed independently.

The Rabid Wolf Spider gains its full size during the next eight months to reach adulthood.

The behavior of the Rabid Wolf Spider

Rabid Wolf Spider are fearless creatures and often attack or aggressively move toward other insects, their family mates, animals, and even humans. However, thankfully, it rarely bites humans, and the bite is often trivial.

Moreover, because Rabid Wolf Spiders are among the most common spiders found in the US, they have a wide range of interactions between other types of spiders and even their peers. Sometimes they even indulge in a fight and can kill each other.

Communication and Intelligence

You will be amazed to know that Rabid Wolf Spiders are intelligent species. They use many exciting methods to trap and kill their prey. Moreover, they also communicate with other fellows of their group.

One method by which Rabid Wolf Spider communicate with their peers (females more often) is via the release of chemicals called Pheremones. Another Wolf spider picks up these chemicals and interprets them as a message.

Spiders use the Pheremones to attract the opposite sex. Once they want to copulate, Spiders draw a dragline and spread pheromones across it. This way, male and female spider uses their palp to follow the line unless they meet each other.

The other method by which spider use pheromones to convey messages are when they feel threatened. Then, they release chemicals (Pheremones) that signal other mates to keep themselves away.

Web vibration is also a well-studied way of communication between spiders. The web vibration is primarily used by males to communicate with females but sometimes by same-sex spiders.

This is a very complex method of communication and is also called substratum-based stridulation or vibration system (References 1, 2).

Fun Facts about Rabidosa Rabida

Rabidosa Rabida, or the Rabid Wolf Spider, has some interesting, unique features, making for some amazing fun facts. Here are some of them,

  1. The Rabid Wolf Spider is the most common in the US and the most feared one.
  2. The Rabid Wolf Spider is the faster spider of all
  3. The Rabid Wolf Spider does not spin Webs like other spiders
  4. Female Rabid Wolf Spider carriers newborn babies on the back for up to 6 months
  5. Rabid Wolf Spider does not eat solid food; it only sucks fluids to meet daily nutritional requirements.
  6. Rabid Wolf Spiders are being studied and used to control pests like fire ants, cockroaches, and termites
  7. The Rabid Wolf Spider kills dangerous and venomous bugs like scorpions, Black Widow and Brown Recluse.

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