Monday, June 20, 2011

Burrowing Wolf Spider - 2011

When I have the time, I’ll stop and check every spider burrow I find. These are made by the Burrowing Wolf Spider, a spider that is considered rare in Ohio. It’s a species of Geolycosa, but I still don’t know which one.

The spiders hunt by ambushing prey that wanders past the burrow. They are often near the top of the burrow, but quickly retreat when you approach. Sometimes you can get them to reappear if you use a grass stalk to mimic the disturbance caused by an insect passing by the burrow. This spider is creeping up the burrow in response to that trick.

A little more teasing and he’s almost in full sight. This trick doesn’t always work, so I was pretty excited that he was responding so eagerly.

This is about as far up the burrow as I’ve ever managed to lure a spider. I’m on my knees and elbows almost directly above the burrow and I know that any movement on my part will send the spider back down into darkness.

I guess this spider is really hungry. At this point I’m trying not to move the grass that’s almost touching the spider’s leg. I’ve got sweat running into my eyes, tiny things are biting big chunks out of my legs and for some reason, the camera doesn’t want to focus properly.

The spider must have known that I was having camera trouble. It posed while I took 20 not quite focused shots. Finally I shifted my position and the spider shot back down the hole. The definitive photos will have to wait for another day.


  1. lol..not too shabby for an ol man :)..all that at the same time and without profanity ;)..I think you topped me! Excellent shots! I don't think most people realize what effort goes into some pictures.

  2. holy. shuddering. panic. spasms!

    while i'm fascinated with spiders, they scare the bejeezus out of me, too. i admire your courage. :)

  3. Hi, Michael. I've spent hours to come up with nothing but a mediocre shot and I've effortlessly captured beautiful images through dumb luck. I guess it all balances out.

    Well, Erin, the spider wasn't about to move away from his hole and I wasn't going in after him, so I think we were both pretty safe.

  4. Great photos and very informative. I have these holes and saw some HUGE fangs, now I know what they are.

  5. Terrific pictures. We had wolf spiders and their habitat everywhere around our Sonoran Desert home. I haven't seen any here in northern MI although some say they think they are here.

  6. Thanks Lindy. You may not have the spiders up there, but I bet you can find some other things just as neat.

  7. Did not know spiders did this... Have a couple burrow like nests similar to these in the yard....

    1. Hi, Crystal. Sometimes the spiders can be seen at the top of their burrows in the morning and evening. Maybe you'll get a look at one.