Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 22, 2015
Mother wolf spiders attentively care for their hatchlings

Wolf spiders, known for their providence and motherly care, are a highly protective species and do all they can to keep their hatchlings safe for as long as possible.

Impregnated wolf spiders will wrap their eggs in a silk-wound ball and carry the egg sac wherever they go, even while hunting. They are capable of this because when the eggs are finished being wrapped, the sac remains attached to the spinneret located at the end of the abdomen. Therefore, this allows female wolf spiders to continue hunting without the sac slowing them down.

Another precaution besides keeping their eggs at hand is that the females will keep their abdomens raised so that their eggs don’t drag on the ground. In fact, if the egg sac detaches from the spinneret unknowingly, she will search and track it until it is retrieved.

This alone is fascinating, but wolf spiders are not the only species that carry around their egg sacs. They are however, the only spider on earth that willingly carries around their hatchlings. After nine to 27 days of holding the egg sac, the offspring hatch and then all pile onto their mother’s abdomen. Mother wolf spiders can be found wandering about with a considerable amount of hatchlings on their backs, and depending on the species, this can vary from dozens to 300 young spiders. The hatchlings are carried up until they can leave and hunt for themselves, which usually takes a few weeks.

During the time that wolf spiders are mothering, the females are known to be aggressive and bite if bothered while carrying an egg sac or their hatchlings. Although their bites are not deadly or severely poisonous, they can be painful and similar to a bee sting.

However, wolf spiders possess many advantages in order to avoid predators, making bites from these spiders uncommon to humans. Other defensive resorts of wolf spiders include their use of keen eyesight, sensitivity to vibration, habitat-like body colors for camouflage and speed and swiftness for hunting and retreating.

The only bothersome deed about wolf spiders is they sneak indoors and hide for the winter. On the other hand, they are excellent pest devourers and will feed on ants, aphids, beetles, crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers and other smaller insects.

 

Taylor Lindsay is a writer and photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be reached at CritterChatter@live.com.

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