Speckled Wolf Spider

Image of a speckled wolf spider
Scientific Name
Tigrosa aspersa
Lycosidae (wolf spiders) in the order Araneae (spiders)

The speckled wolf spider is one of Missouri's more common species of wolf spiders. Key identifiers for this species include large size, overall darkish color, banded legs, and a narrow pale yellowish line running between the eyes.

Like other wolf spiders, these are athletic spiders that don’t spin webs to catch their insect prey; instead, they run it down like a wolf.

Female wolf spiders have remarkable maternal instincts and are often seen carrying around their egg cases attached to their spinnerets. After the young spiders hatch, they ride around on their mother's abdomen until they are able to be independent.

Males are lighter colored than females, and the two hind-most pairs of legs have light-colored bands.

Similar species: There are nearly 250 species of wolf spiders in North America north of Mexico. The particular pattern of dark speckles on the underside of the abdomen helps to distinguish the speckled wolf spider, Tigrosa aspersa, from the very similar T. georgicola, also found in Missouri.

Learn more about this and other wolf spiders on their group page.

Length (not counting legs or other appendages): ½ to nearly 1 inch (females are larger than males).
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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.