Monday, June 24, 2013

Spider Surprise

“The bodily structure of a spider is so efficient, so near perfection for its purpose, that one must admire it.” Hal Borland

 I opened up the valve case that houses the inlet water valve to the camp house and was about to reach in to turn the water on when I saw something scurry. When most people see something scurry there’s an impulse to flee, but I have an insatiable curiosity to know what scurried.
 Lurking near the valve handle was a large wolf spider. In one corner was a hole about the size of a quarter and appeared to have been a part of a pine vole’s tunnel, which are abundant around here. The spider could have taken advantage of this to gain access to this hidden area. When I reached in to turn the valve it made no attempt to pounce, no attempt to bite. Not many people would reach in and place their hand near this spider much less any spider for that matter. Most folks are afraid simply due to ignorance. This is one of the main reason why I continually introduce my grand-daughter to wildlife so that she will grow up knowing that not all things outside are out to get you.
They are called “wolf” spiders not only because they’re hairy and stocky, but also because they use their quickness and agility to stalk their prey instead of building a web to capture it. They do have fangs, can bite and posses venom, but it is harmless to humans. They are beneficial in that they prey on insects that are pests.
A week or so later when I returned and opened the lid expecting to find the spider again, I instead found what I thought at first was the spider’s dead carcass, but on closer examination what I found was its exoskeleton following a molt.  As spiders grow they molt or shed their old smaller exoskeleton for a new larger one.
My other wolf spider related posts can be found here: (1)  (2)  (3) (4)

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