Introduced False Wolf Spider

Subject: Spider Zoropsis spinimana
Location: Oakland, California, USA
December 22, 2014 6:01 pm
I found this fellow (and I do believe it is a male) lurking on my living room wall in Oakland, California. At just over 2″ he’s too big to live with comfortably. So, into a capture jar, smile for a close up and then away to the garden with you.
I was able to get a few good photos and with a quick internet search had the spider ID. Seems that Zoropsis spinimana is an exotic introduction to Northern California and is native to the Mediterranean. Our local nature authority, the California Academy of Sciences of San Francisco, has been tracking its spread since it was first found in the San Jose area in the mid-1990’s.
It’s not aggressive, slow moving and not believed to be harmful. Likes crawlspaces, attics and houses.
I’ve written to you to help out others like myself who are curious about these critters.
Signature: JP

False Wolf Spider:  Zoropsis spinimana
False Wolf Spider: Zoropsis spinimana

Dear JP,
Thanks so much for your well researched submission and the helpful information you have provided for our readership.  As you have indicated, BugGuide states:  “Native to the Mediterranean coastal countries and northern Africa” and BugGuide also reports:  “This is the only species in the family found in BugGuide’s range.”  According to the UC Davis website:  “In the mid-1990s,
Zoropsis spinimana, a large spider from the Mediterranean region, started showing up in homes around the San Francisco Bay area. It has since become well established around the southern, eastern, and northern portions of the Bay and has become a permanent member of the California spider population. Although the known distribution is not very extensive, this spider does inhabit a part of the state that is densely populated by humans and Zoropsis is routinely found in homes, causing concern among the people who encounter it. However, it is harmless to people. This Pest Note was prepared to provide information regarding this non-native resident.  The first California reports of Zoropsis spinimana were from the Sunnyvale area in Santa Clara County in 1992. Since then the spider has mostly spread north and east around the San Francisco Bay area with specimens found throughout Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, and Santa Cruz Counties. Scientists at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco are tracking the spider’s spread. So far, Zoropsis spinimana seems to be found only in and around human dwellings. However, it is also possible that this spider is establishing itself in natural vegetation areas.”

7 thoughts on “Introduced False Wolf Spider”

  1. Found one (on accident) in my backyard today. I moved the cover of my sons bike to sweep up and it appeared right next to my hand on the inside of the cover. Let’s just say, my neighbors heard a few new words come out of my mouth just now. ?

  2. We had a small invasion (about 6 large & small) of critters that look like your Zoropsis spinimana over two evenings–all on walls in the same second-floor bedroom here in Oakland. My husband captured each of them, and put them outside. I sent a picture (not very clear) to my biologist cousin, who sent me the link to your wonderful site. Our guys fit your description perfectly, but my pic likely isn’t clear enough to tell for sure. If another one shows up, I’ll try for a better picture.

  3. I found a beautiful zoropsis on the floor of a bathroom in my house that gets little use. unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of him/her but it looks exactly like the picture on this website. We both froze and looked at each other in shocked surprise. I said hi, then I turn the light off and close the door so the little fellow could find a safe place to hide. I never kill spiders in my home as I know they eat little bugs I don’t want in my house! Oh, and I live in Ukiah, California.


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