Pirate Wolf Spider Pirata piraticus


Pirate Wolf Spider Pirata piraticus

Juvenile discovered near local pond. 23rd April 2020. © Peter Hillman.

Pirate Wolf Spider Pirata piraticus

Juvenile discovered near local pond.
23rd April 2020. © Peter Hillman.

Family Lycosidae (Wolf spiders)

Body length 4-9 mm.

Pirata from Greek “sea-robber”; piraticus from Latin “piratical”.

A distinctly marked wolf spider, with a purplish-brown, velvety abdomen with a yellow cardiac mark, and two white streaks on each side of the abdomen. Two longitudinal rows of small white dots also pepper the abdomen. It also has a pale V or Y mark on the brown carapace. Similar to Pirata hygrophilus, but is usually darker, appearing almost black, and it prefers damp woodland and other shaded wetland habitats. It also tends to be more active at night.

Most active in sunny conditions where it ambushes its prey, and may be seen on or just below the water. The female spins a cocoon for her eggs and carries this with her attached to her spinnerets. It peaks May to June but may be seen late April through to September.

Found in various wetland habitats including ponds and streams, and marshes and fens. Common and widespread throughout Britain. A native species.