Pirate Wolf Spider - Pirata piraticus

Description

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.

Similar Species

Pirata hygrophilus is very similar and found in similar habitats. Microscopic examination of the genitalia is necessary to be sure.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

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.

Habitat

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.

When to see it

Peak April to June.

Life History

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.

UK Status

Common and widespread in Britain.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Further Information

7474 British records to Jan 2013

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map