Pirate Wolf Spider - Pirata piraticus
Females can be up to 9 mm long, whilst males are about 6 mm. The colour pattern of this spider is quite distinctive with a red-chestnut abdomen with a central mustard coloured cardiac mark and white sides to both the abdomen and carapace.
Pirata hygrophilus is very similar and found in similar habitats. Microscopic examination of the genitalia is necessary to be sure.
Confirmation of this species: "Requires examination at high magnification in good lighting, typically examination of the genitalia." Bee, L., Oxford, G., & Smith, H. (2020). Britain's Spiders: A Field Guide. Second Edition. Princeton University Press.
It is usually associated with marshy places and near to water where it hunts along the banks and on the water's surface thanks to water repellent hairs on its legs.
Peak April to June.
This wolf spider doesn't build a web for catching prey but instead hunts by chasing down small creatures. Courting males have to signal their intentions to the females from afar by employing a form of semaphore. Without this signalling behaviour, the female would probably attack them. The female carries the egg case with her as a furry ball under her abdomen.
Common and widespread in Britain.
Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland.
7474 British records to Jan 2013
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015