What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Burrowing Wolf Spider ?
Location:  cheney ks
September 18, 2011 5:42 pm
I have been finding these holes on my property this summer while watering the garden.
I decided to investigate and dig up the hole and see what type of insect was making these holes.
I believe it’s a Burrowing Wolf Spider from looking at photos on your site but I could be wrong .
Signature: Chris Harris

What’s In that Hole???

Hi Chris,
Thank you for a wonderful submission.  We opened your email yesterday afternoon, but we knew this was going to be a labor intense posting and we did not want to rush through it, so we waited until after some social commitments were fulfilled.  We are very excited that you submitted a photo of the hole as well as its occupant.  We agree that this is a Wolf Spider, and we are relatively certain that it is in the genus
Hogna, and though we believe it is a Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, we have a few nagging doubts.

possibly Carolina Wolf Spider

The hairy orange chelicera or fangs and the other facial characteristics are a near perfect match to a Carolina Wolf Spider photo posted to BugGuide, but not all the Carolina Wolf Spiders posted there have such distinctive orange fangs.  The BugGuide info page on the species provides this information:  “The carapace is dark brown with gray hairs (lighter in males) and usually without distinct markings. The abdomen is brown with a somewhat darker median stripe. (1)  Orange paturons (chelicera) and black around the the ‘knees’ ventrally are characteristics of the species.(Jeff Hollenbeck)”  The dark abdominal coloration on your specimen does not seem to match any of the photos posted to BugGuide of the Carolina Wolf Spider, the majority of which have the darker median stripe.  Another confusing difference for your individual is that back of the knees are not black, but appear to be a lighter almost orange color.  We don’t know how much of this can be attributed to individual variation.  There are also many more species of Hogna listed on the genus page on BugGuide that are not represented by photos.  Kansas is listed as a known location for the Carolina Wolf Spider which is reported to be the largest Wolf Spider in North America.  BugGuide does not have any information on the burrowing habits of the species or the genus for that matter, however, we did locate some other links that mention the burrows.  The Carolina Wolf Spider Care Sheet on the PetBugs website has some helpful information including:  “Terrestrial, but will burrow to some extent.”  The Off Beat Pets website also contains helpful information including:  “Carolina wolf spider is terrestrial and does not build webs. It spends most of the time on the ground but may burrow to some extent.”  We have taken the liberty of deleting your street address to keep poachers who may want to collect and sell your Burrowing Wolf Spiders to collectors.  Again, thank you for providing us with a wonderful posting.

Face of a Wolf Spider: Hogna species


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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Cheney, Kansas

3 Responses to Possibly Carolina Wolf Spider

  1. lol says:

    I came across this post while reminiscing about a spider identical to this which I kept as a pet back around 2002, and from everything I was able to ever divine about her she was simply a regional color morph of a carolina wolf spider. I found her in the warehouse of a retail store in Overland Park, KS and it was hard to identify at first since she didn’t really bear much of a resemblance to all the examples of the carolina species that I could find in reference books. Instead I sent pictures to several college entomology and arachnology departments and they confirmed it as a carolina via anatomical features vs coloration. She had the same orange fur on the chelicerae and small red spots on the skin to either side, along with the dark abdomen and relatively featureless cephalothorax that lacked the traditional wolf spider lateral stripe.

    A couple years later I moved north of St. Louis, MO and observed that about 250 miles to the east all the carolina wolf spiders here look like this to a tee, being closer to what is normally shown in field and identification guides:


  2. Zedekiah says:

    I have found nearly all black morphs right here in the heart of the carolinas, smack dab in the middle of both states almost. They can be anywhere from a light grey or tan, to deep greys, browns, and black. You still might see some of the pattern a bit but usually I see most hognus with a solid black underside.

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