Note: I’ve since been informed that the spider is actually an Antrodiaetus species that constructs a folding door as opposed to a hinged trap door. See the addendum at the end of the post for additional information.
The spider was unearthed here at the site of the Toad Pool Project Phase 2.
The spider wasted no time scrambling into its new retreat.
I came back about an hour later and found the spider applying webbing to the burrow entrance. My substitute burrow probably doesn’t meet Trapdoor Spider specifications, but I’m hoping it’s close enough that the spider can rework it to suit. I’d love to go out and find a cap on top of the burrow and watch the spider leap from its concealed burrow to capture some hapless prey.
October 3, 2014.
About 12 hours after posting the above information, I received an email from Rich Bradley,
spider expert currently with The Ohio State University and author of Common
Spiders of North America, with information on the correct identification of
the above spider. It is actually an
Antrodiaetus species in a group commonly known as folding door spiders. Instead of an actual lid topping the burrow,
there are two panels of web that can be pulled together or spread apart like
curtains over a window. The feature I
failed to recognize while trying to make my identification is the slightly
darkened, callous-like feature near the front of the abdomen.
The total length, 17 mm, is right in line for Antrodiaetus. When I don’t happen to have a measuring device with me in the field, I photograph the subject against a background that I can easily measure later. The palm of my hand works perfectly.