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Dances With Wolves

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Wolf spider courtship by Nigel Neve

Keep a special look out this month for the Wolf Spiders.  They wait patiently on bare patches of earth for other invertebrates to pass by and then run in for the kill (hence the name).

Romance is in the air now for Wolf Spiders, and you might spot the male performing some fancy footwork around the female.  When a gentleman Wolf Spider wishes to court a lady wolf spider he first has to wave his palps (those two tiny black arms/legs either side of the head) around in order to attract her attention.  She's a bit larger than the male, and much quicker at running down her prey, so approaching her is a risky thing to do.  He slowly shuffles nervously closer towards her, waving his arms from side to side as he goes.  If he's lucky she'll like his moves, and see him as a potential mate, rather than a potential meal.

The females make very good mothers.  They carry their eggs around with them in a pea-sized, white sac beneath their abdomens.  Even after the babies hatch out the females carry them around on their backs until the spiderlings are able to fend for themselves.

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