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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
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Wolf Spider vs. Brown Recluse


The McLean County Master Gardener Plant Clinic gets numerous inquiries during the season on spider identification. Many homeowners commonly think Wolf Spiders (Hogna aspersa) are the infamous Brown Recluses (Loxosceles reclusa.) Most Brown Recluses are identified by the dark violin shape on their cephalothorax but other identification characteristics should be noticed before identification can be made.

Wolf spiders spend most of their time outdoors hunting ground insects at night. They need their fangs called "chelicerae" to hold and inject venom into their prey. If you find a wolf spider in your house, most likely it is a solitary traveler looking for the exit. The wolf spider can be considered beneficial to most gardeners and is an important part of the ecosystem. Their activity can be threating but really they want to be left alone. In addition, there is no need to worry about infestations because the female spider will carry her egg sacs on her belly until they hatch and then carry the little spiderlings on her back until they are ready to fend on their own.

Wolf Spider Brown Recluse
Does not make Webs Makes Webs
Large Hairy Fangs Very small Fangs
Eye pattern- 2 rows different sizes Eye Pattern- One row of 6
Active found in dark places
Hairy Violen shape on cephalothorax


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