Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trap-Door Spider Burrow

The burrow of Ummidia audouini, a Trap-Door Spider commonly found in States south of Ohio. I’ve seen film of this spider on nature videos, but this is my first personal encounter. Too bad the spider wasn’t around to share my excitement. The burrow looks to have been abandoned some time ago. You can see that the silk covered walls are a bit tattered. The white object to the left is the lid to the burrow as seen from its lower side. The spider hunts by sitting at the entrance to the burrow with the lid pulled over itself. When the insect prey wanders by, the spider throws off the lid and grabs its meal.

I flipped the lid back into place to get an idea of what a hidden burrow must look like. It’s almost impossible to see here even though the lid isn’t even pulled down tight. I’m going to try looking for an active burrow, but it seems like an almost impossible task.

My finger again as a size reference. Some day I’ll have to put my finger next to some familiar object so you can see its true size. You’ll just have to believe me when I say my finger is of average dimensions. I mean average as compared to the rest of my fingers.

As you can see by the gravelly surface of the soil, this burrow was found in one of the barrens. Have I mentioned barrens at all this week? The burrow had a lot of sand down inside. Just an observation. I don’t know why there would be so much sand.

This shot was cropped out of the photo above to show you the small spider sitting just below the burrow. Not the same species as that which built the burrow. The black object is the head and thorax of a small ant being consumed by the spider.

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