So the winner of yesterday’s photography challenge is actually a spider. Now for the most part I do not like spiders—mainly because I know that there are several that if they bite me, they could seriously hurt (or even potentially kill) me. Therefore I usually give any spider I see quite a bit of room so they can disappear—unless we’re in close quarters and I’m fairly certain it could hurt me, then I kill it.
Yesterday’s spider is actually a small wolf spider I saw on my morning walk this weekend. These are hunting spiders, and usually they’re outside (until cooler temperatures) so I’m good with them. Most of the members of this group don’t spin webs—they will run down their prey (hence the name wolf spider).
Wolf spiders can be found in almost any environment—from mountaintops to lava tubes, to deserts and rainforests. I’m actually shocked sometimes when I don’t see one on a morning walk (though to be totally honest—I don’t go looking for spiders to take pictures of).
The mother wolf spider will actually carry the egg sac around with her until the young hatch, and then the young will stay with their mother until they are large enough to live on their own.
There are two endangered wolf spider species in the world: the desertas wolf spider in Portugal (specifically found in the Vale de Castanheira on the Deserta Grande Island of the Madeira archipelago). It is thought that there are less than 5,000 adult spiders found within the valley.
The second endangered wolf spider is the Kaua’i cave spider of Hawaii. The Kaua’i cave spider is another spider that is found in a very small geographical area: specifically caves in an old lava area on Kaua’i. These spiders are actually blind (since they spend all their time in the caves they’ve lost their eyes). These spiders only have between fifteen and thirty young per egg clutch (so their numbers are small right there compared to other spiders), and their main source of food is another endangered animal: the Kaua’i amphipod (a tiny shrimp-like crustacean), that is also sightless and reproduces at a slow rate.
One other unique fact about wolf spiders: when cornered by a predator—they will drop a leg that will still twitch. This will hopefully distract the predator while the wolf spider makes a getaway.