Many people mistake the wolf spider and the hobo spider, but they are two different species. You will see differences between the wolf spider and hobo spider in their physical appearance (although minor), habitat, habits, and their web-making habits.
Most notably, wolf spiders don’t create webs whereas hobo spiders create funnel-like webs to hunt their prey. Wolf spiders, on the other hand, resort to ambushing their prey, as they will catch them by hiding into deep burrows they create.
There are also other differences between the two, but also plenty of similarities that you might see. Because of these similarities, many people confuse the wolf spider and the hobo spider, so it is helpful to know the difference between the two before you decide what to do with the spider.
Wolf Spider vs Hobo Spider
|Features||Wolf Spider||Hobo Spider|
|1. Genus||Lycosidae.||Eratigena agrestis.|
|2. Color||Yellow-Brown to Gray.||A variety of browns.|
|3. Body Size (not including legs)||10 – 35 mm.||7–14 mm.|
|4. Abdomen||Black Stripes.||Light or indistinguishable stripes. Light chevrons.|
|5. Habitat||All over North America.||Pacific Northwest and Great Basin. Also Europe and Central Asia.|
|6. Diet||Small insects.||Small insects.|
|7. Types of Webs||No web.||Funnel Web.|
|8. Venom||Weak.||Weak to Moderate.|
Here’s why many people confuse the wolf spider with the hobo spider.
If you take a look at the colors of the two animals, you’ll see that their colors are quite similar. They are both brown-yellow and all spiders vary in colors, making color a difficult metric to classify a spider. At first sight, you might not see that many differences, though.
The shape of the two spiders is also quite similar. They both have long legs, although the legs of the hobo spider are slightly longer. They also have similar proportions when it comes to their cephalothorax and head, which makes them especially difficult to distinguish.
Both spiders have hairs on their bodies, although these hairs might be too difficult to be spotted because they’re so small. They are even smaller on hobo spiders, although wolf spiders also have hairs all over their bodies, making this feature similar to hobo spiders.
4. They’re Both Fast
One of the things that you might notice instantly is their traveling speeds. Wolf spiders are naturally fast, which is also why they’ve gained this name – the wolf spider.
And they need to be fast, as well. This is the only way that they’ll be able to catch their prey if it gets away, even though it primarily leans on ambushing. Despite that, wolf spiders might occasionally have to do some catching, so they’re naturally pretty fast, which enables them to catch their prey.
Hobo spiders are also quite fast, but not because they need to be, but because they can’t see well. This means that they’ll wander sometimes due to their poor eyesight, which makes them appear even faster than usual. Interestingly, wolf spiders have excellent eye sight, unlike most other spiders. However, they are colorblind!
Take a look at these differences between the wolf and hobo spiders to see which spider species you’re dealing with.
1. Pattern on Body
If you take a closer look at both of the spiders, you’ll see that there’s a minor difference in their appearance – to be more precise, you’ll see that there’s a difference in the patterns that they have on their bodies.
A wolf spider will have clear black stripes on its back and usually, it will also carry its young babies if it has some. This will usually happen right after the eggs are hatched, which is when the babies will be at their most vulnerable.
Wolf spiders usually have easily visible black stripes down their back while hobo spiders have more diffuse patterns along with chevron shapes up and down the abdomen.
2. Web Weaving
The main difference between the two in terms of their behavior is their web-making abilities. Wolf spiders don’t rely on their webs to catch their prey; in fact, they don’t even create webs, because they will hide in their burrows to ambush their prey.
Hobo spiders, on the other hand, create funnel-like webs which are used to both catches their prey and protect themselves and their offspring against potential attacks from other animals. These funnel-like nests will be created near logs of wood or other objects that they can use to lean against to offer them a bit more cover.
Wolf spiders are found all over North America. Hobo spiders are only found in the Pacific Northwest.
Hobo spiders like to live in funnel-like webs where they will protect themselves and catch other animals for food. After another animal has been caught inside its net, the hobo spider will apply venom and sting the prey, which will paralyze it or kill it completely.
On the other hand, wolf spiders don’t create webs at all. Instead, they will dig burrows deep into the ground and hide in these burrows, where they will spend most of their time. Inside, they will also wait for their prey to come and ambush it once the chance presents itself.
Wolf spiders will also occasionally spend their time inside other holes around their habitat, which is where they will hide and stay until their prey is caught.
4. Hobo Spiders Have Longer Legs
This is only a minor difference, but if you examine this closely, you’ll see that hobo spiders have slightly longer legs than the wolf spider.
This also means that hobo spiders will be slightly larger overall than the wolf spider, despite the fact the wolf spider’s abdomen may be bigger. The hobo spider might reach up to 2 inches in size, including its legs, while the wolf spider will only reach about 1.5 inches in size, including legs.
Which is More Venomous?
One of the main questions is: which spider species is more venomous – the hobo spider, or the wolf spider?
It turns out that the hobo spider has more potent venom than the wolf spider.
Hobo spiders are somewhat more venemous than wolf spiders but there have been no reports of deaths from hobo spiders in recent records (they are less venemous, for example, than black widows spiders, and brown recluse spiders).
Most serious reports and cases of hobo spider bites report necrosis, which is a rare but severe problem that sometimes occurs after a bite. It involves localized death of the cells surrounding the bite.
Wolf spider bites do not result in any major problems or damage, which makes it less of a concern than a hobo spider bite. At most, the wolf spider bite will result in local pain and swelling, and potentially redness or irritation of the skin.
However, both spiders very rarely attack humans. They are both afraid of humans and will hide if they spot a human being because they see us as a threat. Sometimes there might be an unfortunate occasion where a human touches one of these spiders inadvertently, which is when the spider will bite.
Other Spider Comparisons:
- Hobo Spider vs Grass Spider
- Wolf Spider vs Tarantula
- Wolf Spider vs Brown Recluse
- Hobo Spider vs Giant House Spider
- Wolf Spider vs Grass Spider
To conclude, there are many similarities between the wolf spider and the hobo spider, which leads many people to believe that they’re actually the same species. However, there are also some key differences between the two.
One of the main differences is their character and their habits. Wolf spiders don’t tend to create webs, while hobo spiders thrive when they are safely tucked inside their funnel-like webs.