Hogna carolinensis (Carolina Wolf Spider)

About Hogna carolinensis

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Lycosidae
→ Genus: Hogna
→ Species: Hogna carolinensis

Other Common Names

Carolina Wolf Spider, Wolf Spider

Author

Author of species name: Charles Athanase Walckenaer. First year published: 1805, as Lycosa tarantula.

Pronunciation

HAWG-nuh kair-oh-ly-NEN-sis

Meaning

The author of Hogna (Eugène Simon) gave no description of its meaning, but speculation leads to a few possibilities: could be after the place Hogne in Belgium, or maybe it was derived from the mythological Teutonic name “Hogni,” father of one of the Valkyries (Cameron 2005); carolinensis translates to “of Carolina.”

Notable Previous Names

Lycosa carolinensis
Lycosa tarentula carolinensis

Identifying Traits of Hogna carolinensis

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 22–35 mm; adult males range from 18-20 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Hogna carolinensis

Eyes

Total of eight eyes in three rows (only two of which are visible from the front). Note pair of large posterior median eyes. See diagram.

Legs

Legs are long and relatively thick; longer in male in proportion to the body. They appear soft and furry to the naked eye and are usually gray with the “knee” joints black underneath. Each tarsus (tip of leg) has 3 claws.

Body

Cephalothorax and abdomen nearly equal in size. These are very robust spiders. Highly variable in color and pattern above, but usually pale brown or gray with sparse darker markings; sometimes nearly black. Usually a dark gray or black elongate mark on the midline of the top of the abdomen is present (known as a “cardiac mark”). Chelicerae (jaws) may be flushed with orange. Underside of body is jet black with “knee” joints black beneath as well. This ventral pattern varies little and is fairly diagnostic for the species.

Range of Hogna carolinensis

Hogna carolinensis can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

This species is uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, but we have included those states in our range listing because it is still possible to find them there. The range of Hogna carolinensis also extends south into Mexico.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

This spider is typically found in arid habitats such as deserts, prairies, glades, and open fields and pastures.

Web

This is a hunting spider that does not spin a prey-catching snare. They usually live in silk-lined burrows surmounted by a turret of silk and grass at the entrance. The burrow may be up to 5 or 6 inches deep. The spider sits in wait at the mouth of it by night, or ventures out to hunt on foot.

Season

Mature specimens may be found at almost any time of year because adult females live an additional few years after maturity. Typically mating takes place in autumn and the females lay their eggs the following spring.

Food

Prey is large insects, or even tiny rodents, that the spider can overpower.

Lifecycle

After mating in the fall, the males die. The females live over to the next year, and sometimes even another year after that, laying their eggs in the spring. Egg sac is a pale sphere carried from the spinnerets of the adult female. An average count per sac is 100-150 eggs. The spiderlings will emerge from the egg sac in summer and ride on top of their mother until their next molt, after which they disperse.

Remarks

This is the largest wolf spider in North America!

Pictures of Hogna carolinensis

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Rio Rico
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Portal, Cochise County
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Rapid City
  • State: South Dakota
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Spiderlings
  • City/Region: Okeechobee County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Oklahoma
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Catalina State Park, Tucson
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Okeechobee County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Okeechobee County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes, Gravid
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Lateral
  • City/Region: Okeechobee County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Okeechobee County
  • State: Florida
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Portal, Cochise County
  • State: Arizona
  • Country: United States
  • Hogna carolinensis
  • Attributes: Webs
  • City/Region: Eastern portion of state
  • State: New Mexico

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

 

Species guide last updated: February 4, 2014

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