Sunday, September 29, 2019

Wolf Spider Hole

A front hall made from dried grass and silk - REK
Another view
On our MN training field trip to Henning CA we came across several of these mystery features in the barren ground between grass clumps.  They were approximately 6-8mm in diameter (1/4 inch) and extended 8mm above the ground.  They were constructed from bits of dried grass.  I sent it to Chris Barnhart while we were in the field and he suggested a wolf spider hole.

Burrowing wolf spiders are in the genera Geolycosa (geo=earth, lycosa=underground).  Most of these are found in Florida but one species, appropriately enough named Geolycosa missouriensis, is found all the way into Canada.  Based on circumstantial evidence alone, I am calling this its home until someone comes up with a better suggestion.

Kurt Schaefer
Geolycosa missouriensis is a common species of spider within the wolf spider family, Lycosidae.  These are all ground dwellers, efficient predators with good eyesight that hunt with speed and strength to capture prey items.  They don't build webs and reserve their silk for lining their tunnels and collecting debris to form a little raised opening.

This Bluejay Barrens blog has good photographs of the spider in its burrow.  Looking closely you can see the diagnostic eye arrangement of a Lycosidae. 

As usual, insect guru Bug Eric has a lot more detailed information.  Finally, here is a video of an unidentified wolf spider goaded out of its home.