June 19, 2010
"Awww! Mommy, they're so cute!"
-- S.C., observing the hundreds of spiderlings swarming on Miriam's abdomen
Miriam's babies have hatched! Miriam is a wolf spider -- a lycosid. Lycosidae are the only spiders which carry the egg sac by attaching it to the spinnarets. She may be a Hogna carolinensis. This species is common in the Miriam's home of origin, the southeastern US; Miriam seems to have the distinctive eye pattern of the Hogna genus, such that the center row of largest two eyes is just a bit wider than the bottom row of four tiny eyes; Miriam's body length is just over 1 inch, which matches the size range for H. carolinensis; and Miriam's brown-and-black dorsal coloring and black ventral coloring matches the pattern of H. carolinensis.
S.C. noticed and captured Miriam in our back yard, where's Miriam's presence was easily spotted: behind her, she carried a pearly white egg sac. Except for this egg sac, Miriam was otherwise well camouflaged in the grass.
When the spiderlings emerged a few days later, they crawled to Miriam's abdomen / prosoma, where they remain. S.C. was the first to notice. "Mommy, it looks like grey fuzz, but they're spiders, Mommy, baby spiders!!"
Together, S.C. and I have been reading about Lycosids and acquiring new vocabulary terms: chelicerae, pedipalps, opisthosoma (cephalothorax), prosoma, and more.