ID Challenge #20

Has it really been seven weeks since the last ID Challenge? BitB Challenge session #6 overall leaders Brady Richards (66 pts), Mr. Phidippus (58 pts), and Sam Heads (54 pts) must think I’m trying to duck the final standings so I don’t have to doll out any loot. Let’s finish this session with a straight up ID Challenge—3 pts for order (der!), 4 pts for family, 5 pts for genus, and (to separate the imagos from the neonates) 6 pts for species. Bonus question worth 5 pts—what is the best way to search for this species? That’s a whopping total of 23 pts up for grabs in this one challenge (not including any discretionary bonus pts that might be awarded), so not only are the leaders not safe from each other, but from any number of other participants lurking just below them in the standings.  Please read the full rules if you are not already familiar with them—good luck!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

47 thoughts on “ID Challenge #20

  1. Order Araneae
    Family Lycosidae
    Arctosa littoralis

    I suppose going head lamping at night in sandy places would be the best way (their eyes reflect light), though one could also find them in their conspicuous silk-lined burrows during the day. These things can be pretty devastating predators on tiger beetles.

  2. Drat! Spiders are not my strong point, but I’m going to have a go anyway:

    Order: Araneae
    Family: Lycosidae [wolf spiders]
    Genus: Arctosa Koch, 1837
    Species: Arctosa littoralis (Hentz, 1844) [beach wolf spider]

    If this is A. littoralis then probably the best way to search for them is to walk along beaches at night where they can be found running around in search of prey. Use of a bright headlamp is probably best as this will be readily reflected from their eyes making them easy to spot (as is the case with all lycosids). During the day, they may be found under driftwood or in burrows in the sand 15–25 cm deep.

    Fun fact about A. littoralis: several pompilid wasps utilise the beach wolf spider as a larval food source, including several species in the genera Priocnemis and Anoplius.

    That’s my best shot for this one!

  3. Spiders! Why did it have to be spiders?

    I don’t know much about spiders, but I’ll give it a shot.
    Order: Araneae
    Family: Lycosidae
    Genus: Arctosa
    Species: Arctosa littoralis (Hentz, 1844)
    Best way to search for this species? Look on sandy shores (as suggested by the specific epithet) at night, or in burrows/under debris during the day. This species is very widespread – Canada to Panama – but I wouldn’t be surprised if you found this one at your Cape Girardeau spot where you once warily and cozily hunted tiger beetles.

    One good thing came out of this challenge – I now have a PDF of Dondale and Redner (1990) Wolf spiders, etc. of Canada and Alaska plus a PDF of their Arctosa revision.

  4. Well, I believe that one can go quite a way towards an ID just from the eyes:

    Order: Araneae
    Family: Lycosidae (wolf spiders) – I don’t believe that there are any other spiders with those greatly enlarged posterior median eyes.
    Genus: Geolycosa – “Spiders of North America” isn’t as helpful as I had hoped, the key is mostly depending on features that I can’t actually see in this picture. So, based more on knowledge of *your* habitat; I rather suspect that you found it while out tiger-beetle hunting, and this genus makes burrows in the same sort of sandy places that one finds tiger beetles. And the face pictures I can find look like a pretty close match (same face shape and hairy chelicerae).
    Species: I’m going to say missouriensis, because most of the other members of this genus look like they live in Florida, and you tagged this “Missouri”.

    Aaaannnnd, I’ll say the best way to search for this species is to go out at night in a suitable tiger-beetle habitat (dry, sandy soil), and sweep a flashlight beam over the ground until you see the reflection from their eyes as they lurk in their burrow entrances. Or in the daytime, look for holes that are much too big to be tiger beetles.

    • Correct on the order and family, but then you were led astray! Too bad, because your logic on the habitat was spot on. You do, however, get the full 5 bonus points for mentioning their glowing eyes at night and use of a headlamp in your subsequent comment.

      Total = 12 pts.

  5. Am I too late?

    Just a guess because they are common in my neck of the woods, but looks kind of like Araneae, Sparassidae, Heteropoda venatoria.

    Best way to find them? Look under your bed!

    • If answers aren’t posted, it’s not too late 🙂

      I don’t think the spider faunas in our respective necks of the woods resemble each other too much!

      3 pts for the order, and I’ll give you a pity point for the humorous ending – 4 pts.

  6. How about Araneae>>Lycosidae>>Arctosa>>littoralis? Best way to find them is walking beach with a nice IPA in one hand and a camera in the other…

    • Good ID, plus 4 early bird pts. “IPA in one hand” isn’t exactly the answer I was looking for, but it’s enough to make me look the other way on the lack of italics for the genus/species 🙂

      Total = 22 pts

      • My experience has been that these are very easy to find during the daytime. I have seen them during the day along rivers, on Atlantic beaches, etc. Just yesterday afternoon I found about a dozen of them without even trying while walking about a quarter of a mile of sandy shore along the Little Miami River in Hamilton County, Ohio. I was mostly looking for odes but the spiders’ movement kept catching my eyes as I was walking. For me, this is much easier than having to get out the headlamp and go look for them after dark…

  7. Arachnida:Araneae:Lycosidae:Pardosa. Best way to search for this species is at night shining a light on the ground. Eyes light up.

  8. Order = Arachnida
    Family = Lycosidae
    Genus = Arctosa
    Species = littoralis

    The wolf spider is well adapted to its habitat of sandy stream banks, beaches, and other sandy areas. The mottled pattern gives it excellent camouflage. Its nocturnal in activity and during the day may be found under floatum washed up on the shore or in shallow burrows in the sand. At night they can be found by using a flashlight or head-lamp and looking for the characteristic blue-green reflections of the eyes.

  9. It looks like a wolf spider (Order–Araneae, Family–Lycosidae), and the closest match I can find is Arctosa littoralis. I’m gonna guess that the best way to search for these is “spot-lighting” at night. I first discovered this technique while on vacation in Florida last year. I went on a night hike to search for bugs and noticed tons of little blue points of light on the ground as I swept my headlamp back and fourth. When I looked closer I realized that they were the eyes of wolf spiders reflecting the light of my headlamp. I spotted spiders from 20-30 feet away with this technique and even found a female by the light reflected by the eyes of the babies clinging to her back!

  10. Wow, this is so amazing! I love this picture. All of your pictures allow people to get upclose with nature and it’s really special to see these creatures from this view. Beautiful!

  11. An addition to my previous comment: It sounds like you actually want a head-lamp to go spotlighting for wolf spider eyes, or a flashlight held up next to your face, in order to get the optimum reflection angle.

  12. The Carolina Wolf Spider (the state spider of South Carolina)

    Order: Araenae
    Family: Lycosidae
    Genus: Hogna
    Species: H. Carolinensis

    You can usually find these spiders by visiting my basement, as they often show up there. More commonly, wear a headlamp after dark and search around your yard. Their eyes are very reflective.

    I hope I’ve done better this time than my only previous stab at an ID challenge. I really enjoy your posts, particularly the extreme macro shots with the MP65e and the great captures of wary Tiger Beetles. Good stuff.

    • Yes on your ID down to wolf spider, but not Hogna. You do get the full bonus pts for how best to find them.

      Total = 12 pts.

      I’m glad you enjoy BitB and appreciate your readership and participation in the challenges!

  13. Order: Araneae
    Family: Lycosidae
    Genus: Arctosa
    Species: littoralis

    Mostly a wild guess, but given the littoral range of this species, I assume that the best way to search for it is by identifying tracks in the sand. Upon finding a track that must have been made by the spider, one only needs to dig for the silk-lined burrow.

    • Good ID, and I’ll accept the subsequent spelling correction. You didn’t mention the order, so your ID earns 15 pts. I won’t ding you on the lack of italics for the genus/species since you mention it in your later comment.

      Total = 15 pts.

  14. OK, I’ll play, since I think I detect a semi-familiar face… is it a female wolf spider (Araneae: Lycosidae) in the genus Geolycosa? I don’t know the species well, but of the two I have seen, it looks most like G. wrightii. And how do you find them? By looking for their circular, vertical burrows in sandy places.

    • Right order and family, but the genus is not correct. Looking in burrows would be the hard way to find them – shining a flashlight in their eyes at night is much easier! 🙂

      Total = 7 pts.

  15. Ted,
    A correction of my previous reply for the ID challenge #20 should have read, Arctosa littoralis a Lycosidae often found on sandy habitats. Maybe html “italics” is easy but not for me!

    Joe W.

  16. As many (but not all) of you guessed, this is a spider (order Araneae) in the family Lycosidae (wolf spiders) that I consider to be Arctosa littoralis. While they can be found in their sandy, littoral habitats during the day under pieces of driftwood or other debris, the easiest way to find them is when they are active at night and their eyes glow blue-green when hit by the light from a flashlight.

    Thanks for playing everybody, and points are tallied below each comment.

  17. Hmmmmm – this week I was dealing with a leech bite from the Mississippi River. And I found a lovely spectacle-case shell.


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