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

    Microscopic examination of the genitalia is necessary to identify this species. Explain how you confirmed the ID.

    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

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map