Fun Desertas Wolf Spider Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Desertas Wolf Spider Facts For Kids

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Spiders always catch us off guard. Despite being small they instigate a feeling of terror in some of us. Spiders in the wild are way different and larger than the ones in our homes. The desertas wolf spider belongs in the wild and has a leg span of 5 in (13 cm). This species is endemic to Vale da Castanheira, Deserta Grande Island, Madeira, Portugal, and the Desertas Islands and live in a single valley in the region. In recent times their population has been facing decline due to habitat loss. This is one of the rarest species of spider in the world.

Keep reading to know more such amazing facts. Do take a look at our other articles including American house spider facts and black house spider facts.

Fun Desertas Wolf Spider Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Beetles, woodlice, millipedes, juvenile lizards

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

100 or more

How much do they weigh?

0.24- 1.2 in (0.6-3 cm)

How long are they?

1.5 in (4 cm)

How tall are they?

5 in (13 cm)

What do they look like?

Gray, black

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Birds, Rodents, Reptiles, Shrews

What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them?

Rocks, Crevices, Microforest


Portugal, Madeira, Vale Da Castanheira, Deserta Grande Island, Desertas Islands









Desertas Wolf Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a desertas wolf spider?

The desertas wolf spider (Hogna ingens) is a type of spider of the family Lycosidae.

What class of animal does a desertas wolf spider belong to?

The desertas wolf spider belongs to the Arachnida class of the Animalia kingdom.

How many desertas wolf spiders are there in the world?

The desertas wolf spider (Hogna ingens) is one of the rarest and most critically endangered wolf spider species. Their population has been dwindling over the years. It is believed that currently there are around 5000 adult desertas wolf spiders alive today.

Where does a desertas wolf spider live?

They can be found in Vale da Castanheira, Desertas Islands, Madeira, and mainland Portugal.

What is a desertas wolf spider's habitat?

This species has one of the smallest distributions. It can only be found in soil and soil fissures. These spiders live in a single valley that is getting increasingly inhospitable. A type of invasive grass, known as phalaris, has started to thrive in the area. Previously, this invasive grass did not cover the entire region due to the presence of other species such as rabbits. However, since their elimination, the phalaris grass has fully engulfed this region, making it hard for the spiders to reach their habitat, such as the dirt cracks underneath it.

Who do desertas wolf spiders live with?

The desertas wolf spider (Hogna ingens) is a solitary species that spends most of its time alone. For nearly two weeks, the female spider has been observed with her spiderlings.

How long does a desertas wolf spider live?

There isn't much information available on the lifespan of this species. With the little evidence provided, it may be assumed that male spiders die within 10 months of reaching sexual maturity. Female wolf spiders generally die after giving birth to their offspring, but this species is an exception. The female can also continue to generate another sac of eggs and live long enough to produce a third sac too.

How do they reproduce?

These desertas wolf spiders reproduce by laying eggs. They usually breed during spring. The males initiate the mating process by displaying a courtship dance. The male must walk on eggshells around the female spiders as the possibility of her devouring them is pretty high. Once they mate the female wolf spider chooses a secure, secluded place where she lays her eggs. It is possible to lay 100 or more eggs which are later placed into a green sac. The female is highly protective of her eggs and carries them with her all the time. When she feels the time has come for the eggs to hatch, she rips open the sac and lets the spiderlings out. The spiderlings then crawl up the mother's body and stay with her for the next two weeks. They are completely reliant on her for food and protection.

What is their conservation status?

As per the IUCN (International Conservation of Nature) Red List, the conservation status of the desertas wolf spider is Critically Endangered. Given their limited range and their habitat becoming inhabitable due to the phalaris grass there are fewer than 6000 adults alive today.

Desertas Wolf Spider Fun Facts 

What do desertas wolf spiders look like?

Desertas wolf spiders are Critically Endangered.
 * Please note that this is an image of a wolf spider, from the same genus as the desertas wolf spider. If you have an image of a desertas wolf spider, please let us know at [email protected].

The eyes of this spider species are one of its most notable characteristics. This Madeira spider has eight pairs of eyes, four of which are located in the bottom row of their head, above which are two additional eyes of modest size. The highest pair is enormous. They have brown or gray fur that covers their entire body. They have white stripes on all eight of their legs. Their legs are extremely long and aid them in hunting. The tapetum lucidum is a special tissue in their eyes. This retroreflective tissue only affects the top four eyes. They have two razor-sharp fangs that they utilize to bite their prey.

How cute are they?

The wolf spider (Hogna ingens) is admired for its long legs. The subtle markings on their legs and their muted colors are adorable.

How do they communicate?

These spiders (Hogna ingens) do not communicate via their organs. Purring spiders are a common name for them. This is due to the fact that they communicate by utilizing the dead leaves on the ground. The vibrations produced by the spider come into contact with the ground, forcing the leaves or microscopic grains of sand to tremble. This produces a very low purr sound, which is sometimes audible to humans too. This is a serious issue for the Madeira spider species. They may have difficulty communicating with one another since most of the ground has been covered by phalaris grass.

How big is a desertas wolf spider?

Madeira spiders grow up to 1.5 in (4 cm) with a leg span of 5 in (13 cm). This species is five times the size of a crab spider.

How fast can a desertas wolf spider jump?

The exceptional eyesight of these spiders helps them in jumping great heights. They can be as quick as a flash due to their extremely long legs.

How much does a desertas wolf spider weigh?

This spider weighs between 0.24- 1.2 in (0.6-3 cm).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female Madeira spiders do not have sex-specific names. They are just called desertas wolf spiders or Madeira spiders.

What would you call a baby desertas wolf spider?

A baby Maderia sider is called a spiderling.

What do they eat?

This Madeira spider preys on beetles, woodlice, and millipedes. It is also capable of swallowing small lizards. They are hunted by shrews, spider-eating birds like screech owls and elf owls, and small reptiles like snakes.

Are they poisonous?

Madeira spiders, endemic to the Desertas islands, are venomous. However, their venom is not life-threatening to humans. You can experience mild itching, pain, and swelling in the affected area. If you properly cleanse the spot, the swelling will go down immediately.

Would they make a good pet?

They can be good pets. Since they mostly feed on insects and are hunters you are not pressured to provide too much for them. They do not require regular baths like cats or dogs. Very minimal effort is required to bring them up. The only downside is their bite which is very painful and venomous but doesn't harm humans to a great extent.

Did you know...

The sting of the male wolf spider is very painful so you can kill them. But it is dangerous to kill the female wolf spider as she will release her eggs which might be an even bigger problem.

Wolf spiders are not likely to chase or pounce on humans if we don't disturb them. However, if they feel threatened they might not run away to hide somewhere.

Spotting a desertas wolf spider might not be as easy as you think. Their dull color allows them to easily camouflage. If you have keen eyes you can spot them with the white stripes on their legs

Bristol Zoo's gardens were successfully able to breed the Hogna ingens and are planning to release them in the valley after a part of the grass is cleared. They were the first in the world to do this. The stem of Phalaris the invasive grass can grow up to 6.6 ft (2 m).

Why are they called wolf spiders? 

The scientific term for wolf spiders is Lycosidae, which is derived from the Greek word Lycos, which means 'wolf.' The species is thought to have gotten its name from its great hunting ability. Unlike other spiders, they have acute vision, which allows them to leap to high heights to catch their prey. When they use this hunting strategy, they are supposed to resemble wolves, hence the name.

Why is the desertas wolf spider endangered? 

The Madeira spider is classified as Critically Endangered. Unsuitable habitats are one of the primary factors. This species is endemic to Vale da Castanheira, the Desertas Islands, Madeira, and mainland Portugal. It is especially common in the Vale da Castanheira on the island of Desertas. It dwells in the micro forests, rocks, and fissures of these regions. Phalaris, an invasive grass, has completely covered the region, making it hard for the spider to access the micro forest beneath. This wasn't a problem earlier due to the presence of other mammals which would either consume the grass or destroy it. After the eradication of these grass-eating mammals, the spiders are having a tough time and are facing a decline in their population. Aside from that, they communicate by utilizing vibrations of minute gravel particles, which has also been a source of difficulty for them. As a result, they do not breed regularly. The International Conservation of Nature is currently developing a strategy to immediately stop the species from becoming extinct.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other insects from our puss moth fun facts and gypsy moth interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable desertas wolf spider coloring pages.

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