The Trap Door Spider of the BC coastal region
The trapdoor spider is a very beautiful arachnid. Its length is usually around 2.5 cm, but can grow to 5 cm. The spider in this photo is a male, most likely quite old, (maybe 15 yrs) and quite large, a good 4 to 5 cm in size.
The trapdoor spider has 8 eyes: 2 eyes in the center, and 3 eyes on each side of the pair in the middle. The color of this spider can range anywhere from light brown to black. It has 8 legs, and large sharp fangs.
The trapdoor spider spends most of its life underground, and likes to inhabit warm areas. It lives in most of North America, and is seen throughout Vancouver Island. This spider can also be found in South America, Africa, and Japan.
The trapdoor spider does not have a web like most other spider species. It has a trap door with a burrow underneath it. This lair can be about 30 cm deep and 5cm wide. Its door, camouflaged with soil, opens & closes with silk acting as the hinge. The spider is nocturnal, meaning, it hunts at night. The trapdoor spider waits for a creature to walk close by the door and set off its trip strands of silk. When the spider feels the vibrations of the creature, it attacks.
In order to reproduce, the male trapdoor spider wanders about in search for a mate. This is the about the only time you will see them. Once a male trapdoor spider has found his mate, both the male and female go into the female’s burrow. On completion of mating, the male spider runs away from the female to mate with others.
Several months after mating, the female lays her eggs within the burrow. After an interval of a few more months, the eggs hatch and remain in the burrow for a short period. Once the spiderlings leave their mother, they go forth to make there own homes, and fend for themselves.
Trapdoor spiders can live up to 20 years.