A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

“My Spidey Sense is Tingling”

I have a cabin located on 40 acres just north of Two Harbors, Minnesota.  I have been going there since I was still in the womb.  My uncle built the one-room cabin by hand without using any power tools.  When he passed away I, along with my siblings, inherited the cabin and the land it sits on.   The cabin has been one of my most favorite things to capture in my pictures.  Not just the cabin but all goings on in and around the cabin.  In the fall, one of my favorite things to take pictures of are the large hunting spiders or Wolf Spiders that seem to gravitate, of all places, the out house.

The bright red outhouse seems to draw these large spiders in from every direction and if you want to find one they are always there, for better or worse.

These are among the largest spiders native to the Minnesota North Woods.  Unlike other spiders they do not build webs, instead the stalk, pounce and kill their prey.  They still produce silk but it is simply trailed behind them for communication with other spiders rather than capturing prey.

The predatory adaptations of these spiders are easy to see.  Two large eyes and six smaller ones face forward for accurate detection of motion and depth perception.  This spider knows exactly how far it needs to move and can detect the motion of its prey.   But wait…..  there’s more….

The spider has two more additional eyes that face to its rear.  This gives the spider nearly 360 degrees of visibility.  It can see you even if you never see it!!   Eight eyes, eight legs, two fangs and enough hair to make most people shutter.  I like it.

Not only does it have the hardware to subdue its prey it also come fully equipped with some impressive camouflage.  Can you see it??

Does this help?    Don’t be afraid of the spiders in the woods they are just out there trying to make a living too!   They have some amazing adaptations and are fascinating if given the opportunity.  Next time you go to wantonly smash an eight-legged intruder take a moment to appreciate what it really is, an advanced insect hunting machine!

Up Next:  Room with a View

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2 responses

  1. RiverMae

    What kind of spider is this? I found one in my apartment in Delano Minnesota?

    January 22, 2012 at 18:48

    • It is a Huntsmen Spider, or often called a Wolf Spider. They are among the largest spiders in the state. Physically harmless to humans, although they can give some quite a scare.

      January 22, 2012 at 19:38

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