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Wolf Spider vs Grass Spider (Similarities & Differences)

At first sight, the wolf spider and the grass spider might appear to be very similar. In fact, they’re very hard to tell apart.

wolf spider

Key ways to tell the difference between the grass spider (Agelenopsis) and wolf spider (Lycosidae) include looking at their webs (wolf spiders do not have webs while grass spiders build funnel webs) and egg sacks (a wolf spider may be carrying an egg sack or babies on its back while a grass spider will not).

Important Note: This is general information for entertainment purposes only. If you have been bitten, seek professional medical attention immediately. Always have professionals identify and manage your pest control needs.

Wolf Spider vs Grass Spider

 

FeatureWolf SpiderGrass Spider
1. GenusLycosidaeAgelenopsis
2. ColorYellow-Brown to Gray. Thicker black line down the abdomen.Yellow-Brown to Gray. Lighter black line down the abdomen with light chevrons.
3. Spinnerets (Tail-like feature)Short.Long.
4. HabitatNorth America. Grassland, Woods, Houses.North America. Grass and low-lying Bushes.
5. DietSmall insects. Small insects.
6. Types of WebsNo web.Funnel-web.
7. Body Size (not including legs)10 – 35 mm.10 – 20 mm.
8. VenomWeak.Weak.
9. Carries Young on BackYes.No.

The Grass Spider

The Wolf Spider

The above two videos are from this YouTube Channel.

Similarities

So, what is it that makes wolf spiders and grass spiders seem so similar?

1. Colors

If you take a closer look at the two species, you’ll see that they have very similar colors on their bodies. Both usually have a yellow-brown pattern on their back. However, some varieties of wolf spider are a deeper brown.

At first sight, it might be a bit difficult to see any differences between the two. Many people mistake the two species because of their very similar colors and the way that the two colors intersperse all over their bodies.

2. Habitat

Both grass spiders and wolf spiders love grasslands. One of the key differences here is that grass spiders are commonly found between grasses where they will create funnel-like webs, while wolf spiders like to create burrows in the ground instead.

Also, both spiders tend to live in most regions and states of North America, and they’re at their most prominent in the summer. Of course, both species are not restricted to grasslands, especially wolf spiders, which live around homes and in woods and forests as well, where they seek shelter in holes in nature.

3. Diet

The diets of both spiders is quite similar. They’re both carnivores, as they focus heavily on insects and other smaller animals that they can catch.

Among the most popular foods for both of these animals are mosquitoes, flies, mites, and other smaller spiders. They will occasionally scavenge if there are no other foods around them, but this doesn’t happen very often.

The only main difference in this respect is how these two spiders catch their prey. Grass spiders rely heavily on their webs, while wolf spiders are ambushing spiders, which means they’ll hide until they find an opportunity to pounce and strike to kill their target.

Differences

Now that we know what makes these two species similar, let’s analyze more closely in what aspects they differ from each other.

1.Stripes on Their Bodies

The best way to tell a wolf spider from a grass spider is to take a closer look at the stripes and the patterns on their bodies.

The black lines on a wolf spider’s abdomen are usually more pronounced and thicker. On the other hand, the stripes on the grass spider’s body are not as thick and not as well pronounced, so you might have more difficulty finding these stripes on the grass spider’s body.

The grass spider will also have what appear to be light chevron patterns on its abdomen.

2. Web Weaving

Another major aspect that separates these two animals is their web weaving abilities. The wolf spider doesn’t create webs at all, although the grass spider will create funnel-like webs that will be very important for their survival.

Wolf spiders use other techniques to survive and catch other animals. Their most important mechanism is ambushing, which they will use to surprise their prey and pounce on their prey once it is exposed. This is helpful because they often hide in crevices and smaller burrows they create.

Grass spiders, on the other hand, will create funnel webs in the grass, which is where they will primarily preside. With these webs, they will catch other animals and then sting them, which will paralyze the target or kill it off altogether.

3. Size

Fully grown grass spiders have bodies (excluding legs) ranging from 8mm to 20mm. Males are usually slightly smaller than females. Filly grown wolf spiders have bodies (excluding legs) ranging from 10mm to 35mm.

However, grass spiders have slightly shorter legs, while wolf spiders have longer legs.

4. Behavior

Wolf spiders are lurkers, which means they’ll spend most of their time hiding in crevices and smaller holes where they will wait patiently for their targets to come close until they pounce. Sometimes, they will also be seen outside, although that won’t happen very often since they prefer to be kept hidden.

On the other hand, grass spiders rarely ever leave the safety of their webs. The funnel webs they create act as both a shelter and a trap for insects, so they have a much easier time catching their prey.

Grass spiders, or Agelenopsis, might have several insects stuck inside their webs, After that animal gets caught, the grass spider will reach the prey and then sting it with its venom to paralyze it and then chomp on it to consume it.

Which is More Venomous?

Which of these two spiders is more venomous?

Both the wolf spider and grass spider have a weak bite, but grass spiders have a slightly more potent venom than the wolf spider.

But despite that, grass spiders will almost never attack humans of their own free will. They will only bite if they feel threatened, and that will only happen if you try to hold the grass spider in your hands, for example. They prefer to keep hidden and stay away from humans, though.

Also, their fangs are not very strong, which makes it difficult for them to bite down on our skins. These fangs are designed for attacking smaller bugs and insects, which makes them quite ineffective at attacking humans.

Wolf Spider bites are also not dangerous. Even though these spiders do have venom, it is not nearly potent enough to cause serious damage to humans. At worst, it will cause irritation and pain on the injection site. However, if you’re allergic to spider bites, you might have a more severe reaction.

So even though these two spiders don’t have potent venoms, you should be wary of picking them up, because their bites might be a bit unpleasant. It’s best to avoid the hassle and scaring the spider, which will cause it to bite you.

Other Spider Comparisons:

Final Thoughts

Many people mistake the grass spider with the wolf spider. Sometimes, they also mistake these two spiders with the hobo spider. But if you pay close attention, you’ll see that there are some differences between all of these spiders that will make it easier for you to distinguish them.

Hopefully, you’ll now be able to see the differences between these spiders and see quickly which one you’re dealing with.

Wolf Spider Image by lolaclinton from Pixabay