Ground Wolf Spider

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Spiders, Pacific Northwest

Ground Wolf Spider, Pacific Northwest
Ground Wolf Spider, Photo By Robert Logan

Ground wolf spiders are swift-running ground dwellers. They abound in both bush and garden. Grass lawns are especially favored for their nesting and hunting activities.

These spiders vary considerably in size, according to the species concerned – some are quite large, while others are much smaller. There are many varieties, but all are brown & grey to solid brown, with spots along the back of the hind body or abdomen. The fore body is marked with a pattern of radiating lines.

Ground wolf spiders can excavate burrows in soil to a depth of a 30 cm or more. The entrance may be left open to the sky, & merely lined with a few silken strands. A few species construct true trap doors with disc-like lids, that are loose & unhinged, and can be opened & closed at will.

Prey is captured by the superior speed of the huntress, who runs her victims down. Or she may lie in wait at the burrow’s entrance, peering over its rim, ready to spring out upon some hapless passer by.

A devoted mother, the ground wolf spider encloses her eggs in a rounded silken sac. With the egg sac firmly attached to her spinnerets, she trundles her eggs about wherever she goes, and will not be parted from them except by force.

At home, she may sometimes be seen in the tunnel entrance, head resting downwards, holding the sac aloft in her hind legs, and turning it slowly, over & over, so that every part is thoroughly warmed by the sun’s rays.

When the eggs hatch, spiderlings burst from their sac, swarm out & climb upon their mother’s back, covering her almost completely with a shaggy, living cloak. Sustained apparently, by reserves of food from within the eggs, spiderlings remain with her for a considerable time, without feeding.

Eventually, they leave the safety of parental protection, and disperse, each finding its own way in the world.

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