thin-legged wolf spiders

(Pardosa spp.)


Pardosa is a large genus of small to medium-sized typical spiders. There are currently 532 accepted Pardosa species worldwide, 64 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 12 species in Minnesota.

Thin-legged wolf spiders occur worldwide on every continent except Antarctica. They are found on open places, including fields, marshes, bogs, rocky shorelines, beaches, dunes, gravel roads, and lawns. They are also found in the leaf litter of coniferous woodlands. Unlike many wolf spiders in the Family Lycosidae, they are active in the day under full sunlight.

A thin-legged wolf spider does not build a hunting web. It hunts by day, over a limited territory, often on the soil surface in grassy areas.

thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.)
Photo by Babette Kis

The female constructs an oval egg sac which she drags around with her as she hunts. The egg sac is greenish at first, but it soon becomes dirty and gray. Hatched spiderlings ride around on her back.


Thin-legged wolf spiders are slender and long legged. They range in size from the small Pardosa parvula, about (3 mm) in length, to the medium-sized Greenland wolf spider (Pardosa groenlandica), which can be more than ½ (12 mm) in length. They are brown or gray with mottled black markings, and they are covered with fine hairs.

The upper side of the front part of the body (cephalothorax) has a light stripe in the middle (median stripe) and light lateral margins. On some species, there is an additional light band on each side, making a total of five light bands.

On the front half of the upper side of the abdomen there is a pale oval mark (cardiac mark). Behind the cardiac mark there are a few pairs of spots. The markings on the body are distinct on some species, less distinct but still present on others. Some species have unique markings.

The legs are long and slender, and they have many relatively long spines.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82, 83.



Arachnida (arachnids)


Araneae (spiders)


Araneomorphae (typical spiders)


Entelegynae (entelegyne spiders)


RTA clade


Oval calamistrum clade


Lycosoidea (wolf spiders and allies)


Lycosidae (wolf spiders)




Subordinate Taxa

atrata group

Pardosa fuscula (snowbank wolf spider)


coloradensis group

Pardosa coloradensis

Pardosa metlakatla

Pardosa ontariensis


distincta group

Pardosa distincta (pale thin-legged wolf spider)

Pardosa montgomeryi

Pardosa orophila

Pardosa utahensis

Pardosa xerophila

Pardosa yavapa


lapidicina group

Pardosa lapidicina (stone spider)

Pardosa mercurialis

Pardosa sierra

Pardosa steva

Pardosa vadosa

Pardosa valens


milvina group

Pardosa atlantica

Pardosa bellona

Pardosa delicatula

Pardosa littoralis

Pardosa milvina (shore spider)

Pardosa parvula

Pardosa pauxilla

Pardosa saltonia

Pardosa saxatilis (saxatile thin-legged wolf spider)


modica group

Pardosa albomaculata

Pardosa anomala

Pardosa bucklei

Pardosa confusa

Pardosa crassistyla

Pardosa dromaea

Pardosa groenlandica (Greenland wolf spider)

Pardosa labradorensis

Pardosa lowriei

Pardosa modica (little banded wolf spider)

Pardosa ourayensis

Pardosa sinistra

Pardosa tetonensis

Pardosa tristis

Pardosa vogelae

Pardosa wasatchensis

Pardosa wyuta


moesta group

Pardosa moesta (shiny wolf spider)


nigra group

Pardosa dorsalis

Pardosa dorsuncata

Pardosa gothicana

Pardosa hetchi

Pardosa mackenziana (Mackenzie’s thin-legged wolf spider)

Pardosa rainieriana

Pardosa uintana

Pardosa uncata


saltuaria group

Pardosa californica

Pardosa hyperborea (taiga wolf spider)


sternalis group

Pardosa altamontis

Pardosa orthodox

Pardosa ramulosa

Pardosa sternalis

Pardosa tuoba

Pardosa vancouveri


tesquorum group

Pardosa mulaiki

Pardosa tesquorum


xerampelina group

Pardosa diuturna

Pardosa nordicolens

Pardosa xerampelina (forest wolf spider)





Lycosa bernensis

Lycosa kratochvilli

Pardosa bernensis

Pardosa kratochvili



Common Names

thin-legged wolf spiders

thinlegged wolf spiders
















Visitor Photos

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thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.)    

Babette Kis

thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.)   thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.)

Pardosa sp. thin-legged wolf spider

Pardosa sp., thin-legged wolf spider, on grasses at Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI Sept. 15, 2022. Photos







Thin-legged Wolf Spiders (Pardosa spp.)
Andree Reno Sanborn

Thin-legged Wolf Spiders (Pardosa spp.)

Pardosa sp
Lloyd Davies

Pardosa sp

Pardosa sp Wolf Spiders



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

Pardosa sp wolf spider mating dance
Agata Stachowiak


May 13, 2018



Visitor Sightings

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June 2024

Location: Cass County

thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.)

Babette Kis

Location: Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI

Pardosa sp., thin-legged wolf spider, on grasses at Barnes Prairie, Racine Co., WI Sept. 15, 2022.

thin-legged wolf spider (Pardosa sp.) Sightings






Created: 6/24/2024

Last Updated:

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