Friday, June 24, 2011

Small wonders

Mike Garcia has been taking photos of animals, plants, and all things wild at the Center and Norm's Island. This morning he shared this fantastic photo of a wolf spider. Can you count all the little legs on her back? Those are her young spiderlings, freshly hatched! Wolf spiders carry their egg sacs by attaching them to their spinnerets. After the young spiders emerge, they climb up onto their mother's abdomen, where they will live for a few weeks until they can hunt on their own.

There are more than 2000 species of wolf spiders! Their name derives from their superb hunting ability. Unlike web-weaving spiders, wolf spiders actually chase their prey. They live mostly solitary lives, and hunt alone. Some wolf spiders will defend a territory while others are free-roaming. Like all spiders, they have eight legs, fang-like mouth parts (chelicerae) and two body parts (an abdomen and a cephalothorax). They can be distinguished from other spiders by their stout build and arrangement of their eyes (8 total).

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