Friday, November 7, 2014

Spider Burrow Closed for the Winter

For the past two months, I’ve been keeping a watch on the Carolina Wolf Spider found living in a burrow in one of my vegetable garden beds.  This is how she looked two weeks ago, sitting at the entrance to her burrow.  The pose is her normal position when venturing out during the day, her legs resting on the lip of the burrow entrance.  From the side it’s easy to see the eye that sits far back on the side of the head.  At the first sign of approaching danger, she drops quickly into the burrow.

The spider’s burrow is located at the edge of a garden bed that is currently growing a large stand of Butterfly Weed.  The burrow is in the green patch of clover in front of the dried flower stalks.

A couple of days ago, I glanced over to check on the spider and noticed something odd about the burrow.

The entrance has been blocked by soil.  The seal was constructed by material brought up from inside the burrow. 

Carolina Wolf Spiders hatch during the summer and reach about half of their adult size before winter sets in.  They overwinter and complete their growth the following summer.  Mating occurs in the fall.  Mature males will die soon after mating, but females will overwinter and produce eggs the following spring.  This spider has sealed herself into the burrow and is settling down to ride out the winter.  Hopefully, the spider will reopen her burrow in the spring and the hole will be home to a large batch of spiderlings next summer.

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