The Garden Wolf Spider is commonly mistaken for a tarantula. They are both large – although the tarantula is much bigger – both live in burrows in the ground, and both are equally hairy!
Wolf Spiders are venomous but not usually capability of killing a human. They may be dangerous to young children, but wouldn’t be able to cause too much harm to a healthy adult.
Wolf Spiders are common in gardens in summer. They live in both extremely dry and wet places. They’re fairly big with the body around 2cm. This particular one is a Garden Wolf Spider and as you can see it is in its burrow. This spider was spotted on a rural property near Kuranda in Far North Queensland.
Wolf Spiders are highly protective of their babies and will readily strike if their babies are attacked. She carries her babies as well as her eggs around on her abdomen (rear body). Wolf Spiders belong to a group of spiders called Araneomorphs. Araneomorphs can be distinguished from Mygalomorphs (another group of spiders containing tarantulas) by the way their fangs move.
Mygalomorphs fangs move downwards, therefore they have to rear up to strike. Mygalomorphs also have a breathing structure that only works well close to the ground. Their lungs are called book lungs because they look like the pages of a book.
Araneomorphs fangs move inward like pincers, so they don’t have to strike in the same way.
There is another less-known group of spiders called Hypochilomorphs. Their fangs move in the same way as Araneomorphs but they have book lungs like Mygalomorphs! They are also known as “living link” spiders.