Scientific Name: Pardosa spp (Lycosidae).
English Name: Wolf Spiders (Wolf spider family).
French Name: Pardose; Araignée loup (='wolf spider').
5 Key Characters:
- body length 5 - 8 mm.
- 8 eyes (2 big and 4 small facing forwards, 2 large facing backwards), hunts by sight.
- does not make a web.
- very variable pattern on the back, brown or grey.
- bristles at joints on legs.
Lookalikes: There are two main groups of Pardosa spp. The first (eg P. monticola, P. lugubris) have a clear white central dorsal line and may or may not have definite 'shoulders', depending on species. The second (eg P. amentata, P. hortensis) has a sort of crest, not a clear straight white dorsal line and definite 'shoulders' ie the thorax narrows abruptly to the head. The photo above is of a species in the second group, probably Spotted Wolf Spider P. amentata, the most abundant species. There are a couple of other species that do not fall into either of the two categories above.
Habitat: Open areas with bare soil and low vegetation. Forest and field margins; damp places like marshes and river banks; waste ground; gardens. Will come into houses in winter. Eats flies and other small insects.
Adult Active Period: March-April-May-June-July.
Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: