Welcome to our weekly series: Friday’s Farm Fauna. Life abounds at our training farm, and it’s not just the fresh veggies, fruit, and flowers our farmers grow. From wild turkeys to snapping turtles to bumblebees, every Friday, we share a glimpse of the hidden life on our farm.
In honor of Black Friday, I chose this black wolf spider as today’s featured Farm Fauna. When we moved these sandbags to use as weights for row cover in our winter production, this spider politely waited until I dug out my camera before scurrying off to another dark place.
Identification is difficult for this spider. It is a part of the Lycosidae family of spiders, all of whom hunt for their prey rather than using webs. I couldn’t find any web resources to get a positive identification on this spider’s species, and the printed guides in our office simply say that there are many species in North America, and it is hard to distinguish between them. In general, the wolf spiders’ eyes set them apart from other spiders: a row of four small eyes, two large ones above the row, and two smaller ones pointing backwards. I bet if you had 360 degree vision and eight legs, you would be a pretty good hunter, too.
While wolf spiders terrify the arachnophobes among us, they serve an important role on the farm. They devour many, many insects, and they are not harmless to humans. So, next time you see one of these fellows in your bathroom, consider trapping it and returning it outside to your garden instead of smashing it.
To read earlier posts in this series, click on the links below:
Pink Spotted Lady Bug
Spotted Cucumber Beetle
Western Gray Tree Frog
Plains Leopard Frog and Western Ribbon Snake
Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar