Tasmania – Wolf Spider

2014 January 8

The third thing that I found under a rock on June 18, 2013 was this fine, large wolf spider. This first photo is in a little 1-1/2 inch diameter dish, and as you can see the legs were about as wide as the dish was.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this wolf spider is that it isn’t that different from some of the wolf spiders we have in Michigan.

Compare with the color pattern on this one, for example.

It’s got the characteristic arrangement of eyes (two big ones, and a row of four small ones across the front, with two more smaller ones further back on the top).

And it also ran pretty fast, making it difficult to get a good side photo.

The Tasmanian Spiders website doesn’t have an exact match for this one, but the closest one is in the genus Venatrix. As one might expect, this is an Australian genus that isn’t found in North America. This particular color pattern must be very good camouflage for a spider that hunts in the grass, because a lot of species that are only distantly related to each other have all converged on it.

4 Responses
  1. January 8, 2014

    Gorgeous! I wonder how long it’s been genetically separated from it’s Michigan brethren.

  2. January 8, 2014

    Well, since Gondwana appears to have split off from Laurasia about 170 million years ago, it’s been at least that long since the Michigan and Tasmanian wolf spiders had a common ancestor. That’s a really long time.

  3. Katbird permalink
    January 8, 2014

    Amazing how much they look like our wolf spider in the NE USA.

  4. January 8, 2014

    I wonder how many wolf spiders have booked tickets on freighters and made their way from one environment to another over the years, sharing their DNA as they go.

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