Wolf Spider

I usually don’t see wolf spiders unless I’m committing neatness in the yard. This morning I was moving rocks. The first flat rock I lifted had 100’s of ants and eggs under it. That created pandemonium. The next few rocks also had ants. Then the next rock was flat on the ground. This disturbed a few dried leaves, and this wolf spider ran out and stopped. Usually they don’t pose like this. It must have wanted blog notoriety?

Wolf spiders don’t spin a web, and they roam around at night hunting for food. Most live in burrows in the ground. The female  lays her eggs and wraps them in a large ball web. The ball with this one was roughly 1/2 inch long.  Then she attaches it to her spinnerets and drags it around with her until the eggs hatch about a week later.   Now it gets even more interesting: the spiderlings hatch and climb up her legs and onto her back. She carries dozens of them around on her until they’re old enough to feed themselves. I’ve yet to see one carrying its young.

I searched and searched online to find out how she feeds the young. There are more than 2,000 species of wolf spiders. I found where some don’t feed their young, some feed a liquid and other spiderlings eat their egg yolk. Adults feed on insects, other spiders and similar prey.

Adults are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray and brown. Like other spiders, they have 8 eyes, 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), and fang-like mouth parts called chelicerae. These are used to hold prey, inject venom and to eat.

Earlier this spring I removed a large patch of lemon thyme and the stones I had underneath the plants. This uncovered ants, snails, leeches, caterpillars, roly polys and lots of spiders. The picture below is one of the wolf spiders I uncovered.

I know better than to have expectations when it comes to finding specific things in nature, like a female wolf spider carrying her young. Someday it might happen.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on May 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Wow! This is interesting. You teach me sooooo much!!!


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