Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 44 - Lycosidae (Arachnida: Araneae) - Popular summary

Vink, CJ 2002. Lycosidae (Arachnida: Araneae). Fauna of New Zealand 44, 94 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 44. ISBN 0-478-09347-0 (print), ). Published 23 Dec 2002

Popular summary

Wolf spiders

The family Lycosidae has more than 2200 known species that are found worldwide, especially in open habitats. Wolf spiders are easily recognised by the carrying of the spherical egg sac behind the adult female and the subsequent transport of the young on her abdomen. Most are well camouflaged in their surroundings and are often seen hunting during the daytime. They do not build a web for prey capture, except for some ancestral species not found in New Zealand. Wolf spiders are amongst the most numerous invertebrate predators in many environments, especially in open habitats, and are viewed as beneficial predators.

Twenty-seven species of wolf spider are found in New Zealand. Two of these have been introduced, probably naturally - one is found throughout Australia and one is found throughout the South Pacific. The remaining twenty-five species are endemic to New Zealand. The endemic species in the genera Allotrochosina and Artoria have related species in Australia. Anoteropsis and Notocosa are believed to be genera endemic to New Zealand, with their most closely related genera in Australia.

Like most lycosid species, New Zealand wolf spiders are habitat specific and are found in mountain screes, riverbeds, beaches, tussock grasslands, forest, swamps and marshes. The most commonly seen species is Anoteropsis hilaris, which is found in grasslands throughout New Zealand including human modified habitats such as gardens and pasture. This species is thought to be a beneficial predator of insect pests and has been investigated as a possible indicator of insecticide contamination.

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