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Thread: Yearly Wolf Spider Count.

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    Norhtern Michigan Dragway Mama *Barracuda_45*'s Avatar
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    Yearly Wolf Spider Count.

    Every yr my daughters and i do a Burrowing Wolf spider count and check up to see how many we have on the property males/females, what color they are, how many females make it to raise young and how many actualy make it to the end of fall. We do these counts 3 times a yr, once at the end of April then in July and begining of October. I took my cam with me this time to show you alittle of what we do, we go down to there home grounds which is the old horse/cow pasture where its nice and sandy with weeds/grasses/moss that gets sun almost all day long and stays very dry and is very abundent with crickets, grasshoppers, and all sorts bugs for them to eat well. They tend to dig there burrows on hillish grounds which down in the pasture it has small hills, this way when it rains there burrows dont fill up with water as much and dries quickly. We always do our checks durring the hottest part of the day as they are "mostly" in there burrows durring daylight. Females do tend to travel with babies on Deck durring the day in search for food or a better place to be. We always keep one female for study and to count "babies on deck"=babies on moms back. Anyways heres some pics from todays count check..
    First you go down to there home grounds, this is what it looks like.

    then you scout around for burrows which can be abit tricky if you dont know what your looking for, we then mark them as we go so we can always come back to them as we do our check.
    these are diffrent burrows,



    and to show size of a females burrow which they can be big and thats how we know which has the biggest females in them,

    females tend to make there burrow openings larger after they lay there egg sack due to being easy escape and for the babies to dispurse easier.
    Now this burrow you can kinda make out the babies in a panic to get out of the burrow on the right hand side, the mother was attacked by a spider wasp in the burrow which we dug up and the spider wasp was pretty upset, another reason why we lose many burrowing wolf spiders even though the spider wasp dont kill its victom it paralizes it so it can lay eggs on it for the larva to hatch and feed off the live spider.
    heres the babies from that burrow.

    we managed to get most all the babies and dispurse them up in the woods.
    heres us digging a burrow, you have to know exactly which way the burrow goes underground, i have managed to know dead on after doing this for the last 13yrs.

    and some babies,

    most the time they dont wander far from mom and when we collect a female as long as we get all the babies in the same jar they will get back on deck as soon as things settle down.
    mom with babies,

    and again,

    and a female with no babies collected in the spring.

    and a closer view.


    As we do these checks we also fill in records we keep to help us keep track for each yr. We notice a decline in Burrowing Wolf spiders over the yrs. This yr being the worst so far.

    Heres alittle more info on Wolf Spiders.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wolf Spiders are large, hairy spiders which are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray, redish and brown. Wolf spiders, especially large ones, look very similar to spiders in the Pisauridae family (nursery web and fishing spiders), but wolf spiders are usually more robust, with shorter legs. There are more than 2000 wolf spider species. Wolf spiders have 8 eyes. As with all spiders, wolf spiders have 8 legs, 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), and fang-like mouthparts called "chelicerae." Like all spiders, young wolf spiders hatch from eggs and look like tiny adults. They shed their skin as they grow. Most wolf spiders live for several years. In many species, female wolf spiders lay dozens of eggs at one time and wrap them in a large ball of web. The female will then carry the egg sac with them until the spiderlings hatch. Upon hatching the, spiderlings will live on the mother's back for a few weeks until they are large enough to hunt on their own. Wolf spiders are active hunters that patrol the ground for insects, other spiders, and similar creatures. They do not use webs to capture prey. They live by the thousands in leaf litter and grassy areas. Some wolf spiders build small burrows and defend a territory, others are free-roaming. Because they are so numerous, and such voracious predators, wolf spiders are a very important part of any ecosystem in which they occur. Wolf spiders are not normally pests, but they often wander into homes. They can bite, but they are not considered dangerous. Wolf spiders look similar to brown recluses, and are often killed because they resemble these dangerous spiders. With a little practice, it is easy to tell the difference between wolf spiders and brown recluses.
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    Dog! maneatingmoo's Avatar
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    Wolf spiders are pretty cool. My brother says that they can get about the size of a hand. How big do they really get?
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    I can't stand big spiders like that. They give me the creepy crawlies.
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    Norhtern Michigan Dragway Mama *Barracuda_45*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP_Princess View Post
    I can't stand big spiders like that. They give me the creepy crawlies.
    HEY!!! Your the only one that hasnt done these things with us so far Jen.. You going swamping with us when ya come back home??


    maneatingmoo, they dont get that big, the biggest burrowing wolf spider we have found was alittle over 3 1/2 inches from leg tip to leg tip.
    Hey buddy wana run, LETS GO!
    Northern Michigan All Car Drag Team *PRESIDENT*
    Red Hot Cherry's "NEW" PB 8.741 GO CHERRY! & "5" 1st place trophy wins 9 sec class.
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    I'll go swamping with you.......as long as I don't have to touch those nasty spiders!
    Northern Michigan All Car Drag Team *Vice President*
    Personal Best 1/4 mile: 12.76 @ 106.11 mph
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    Gone V8 Hunting.....be back in 12 Seconds!!!!!

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    Rub my belly! bluebird's Avatar
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    Very interesting post there I like spiders except for the very poisonous ones those I try to put them in a container and put them in my field away from my house I don't like to kill things if I don't have to.

    I have alot of wolf spiders at my camp site and feild and at my compost area the ones in the compost area must be happy since flies like to hang there...

    I don't really like holding spiders or anything like that sometimes I'll catch a wolf spider and put a fly in the container to watch it catch the fly and sometimes I'd feed it to my Nep. I've only done this twice when I first got the plant now it's catching bugs on it's own.


    I just went on a walk in my field and I tried to compare your pictures of the spider holes and I found a few at first I thought they were crawfish holes or some other thing, but they just might be wolf spider's or not maybe I'll bring my camera and see around.

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    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    That's really neat! What a fun thing to do with your daughter Thanks for sharing!
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    Don't like 'em not one bit !
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