Spiders of the genus Lycosa, also known as wolf spiders, are fairly common on Mauna Kea all the way up to the 13,796' (4206m) summit of the mountain. Invertebrate surveys at the summit have discovered a large (up to 2 cm body length), black wolf spider (Lycosa sp.). This wolf spider is thought to be endemic to the Hawaiian Islands , although its distribution elsewhere is not known (Howarth and Montgomery 1980; Howarth and Stone 1982). Many lycosid species are capable of 'hang gliding' or long-distance dispersal by wind (Howarth and Montgomery 1980).
The wolf spider is an ambush predator, hiding under large rocks until an active prey comes within range (Howarth and Stone 1982; Howarth et al. 1999). It likely preys on any actively moving arthropod including the wēkiu bug (Englund et al. 2002). At higher elevations on the mountain wolf spiders probably subsist almost completely on Aeolian insects which are carried to the higher reaches of the mountain by wind currents. The female wolf spider builds nests of silk and earth under rocks, and remains with the nest to protect the developing eggs (Howarth and Stone 1982). The wolf spider is found in low densities across the summit in a wider variety of areas than the wēkiu bug (Howarth et al. 1999).
The cinder cones surrounding the summit of Mauna Kea are an extremely fragile environment. Please keep this in mind if you choose to visit the summit of Mauna Kea , and walk only on existing trails. Walking off of marked trails, or scrambling up or down the summit cinder cones can damage the only existing habitat for these insects.