She-Wolf

21 Jun
Wolf spider and egg sac

A mother wolf spider and her egg sac.

Ran across this huge wolf spider in Argentina.  She was sitting smack in the center of an equally huge cow patty, which is not exactly photogenic, but at least she showed up nicely.  Under her abdomen you can see her egg sac, which looks nearly bigger than she is.  This is one way in which female wolf spiders provide parental care; by wrapping their eggs up in a silken ball, and carrying it with them to protect it from predators. Many also carry the newly hatched spiderlings on their abdomen.

(Of course, as always, there are ways around this.  For instance, one very strange little group of insects, the mantispids, are important predators of spider eggs.  In cases where the silken case is too difficult to chew through, some species’ larvae will actually follow a spider around and get themselves spun into the egg case.  But I’ve gone off on a tangent.)

Wolf spiders hunt sans web, prowling the ground and tackling prey one-on-one. They take their name from their hairy appearance and hunting style.

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