Wolf spiders carry babies while they grow

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My photo here shows a female wolf spider with recently hatched babies clinging to her. They will ride on her abdomen for a few days until they become too big to ride. Often a sudden disturbance will cause the babies to all leave their mother at once. When this happens it looks like the surrounding area has just erupted with tiny spiders.

There are many different kinds of wolf spiders around the world on most continents and islands except in places where it is cold all year long. Wolf spiders are not very big. An adult's body length (not counting leg span) is seldom more than one inch.

Generally considered to be nocturnal, the wolf spider often actively hunts for its insect prey at night. It does not build a web.

Often a female wolf spider will be observed carrying a soft, round, white or light gray colored object at the end of its abdomen. This object is the egg sac full of tiny eggs waiting to hatch.

A close-up view of a wolf spider will reveal two dominant eyes and six lesser ones. Its body is covered by camouflage hairs with a few spikes on the legs. Wolf spiders will bite if held tightly, and their bite can be painful and cause a sore.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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