These spiders resemble wolf spiders (Lycosidae), and they are usually called running spiders or wandering spiders. The Ctenids are characterized by their eye arrangement: eight eyes in three rows, in a 2-4-2 pattern. In wolf spiders, the eyes are arranged in a 4-2-2 pattern.

False wolf spider, Ctenus captiosus Males are 10-14 mm long and females are 15-20 mm long. The male carapace is yellowish brown, with a wide pale median stripe that narrows posteriorly; the submarginal stripes on the carapace are gray. The abdomen is yellowish gray except for a pale gray median stripe consisting ofa series of connected triangles. Female coloration is similar to male, except generally darker. This species wanders to catch prey and does not make a web. Natural habitats include wooded areas of oak and pine trees, in leaf litter, and in caves. In the urban environment, they enter houses in moist, woodland habitats. This species occurs in the USA, primarily Florida and southern Georgia.

Phoneutria fera Males and females are about 40 mm long and brown to dark brown. Legs have some banding and strong spines. Chelicerae are reddish brown; the middle pair of eyes in the posterior rowis larger than those in the front row of eyes. This spider does not make webs but wanders and hunts prey. Natural habitats include low vegetation and around stones and litter on the ground; they are common in banana plantations. It naturally occurs indoors. It is occasionally imported into countries outside its range, including the USA and the UK. This species is known to occur in Brazil, where there are cases of bites to young children, but fatalities from these bites are rare.

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