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Photo#234607
juvenile female - Pirata piraticus

juvenile female - Pirata piraticus
Puyallup, Pierce County, Washington, USA
October 18, 2008
Size: around 10 mm
These were pretty common down at the Puyallup fish hatchery on their metal fence posts. Some of these spiders would run when I approached, but a few were fighters like this one. It seems to be trying to look really big and mean in this shot, but may just be preparing to escape by ballooning. Generally, if I stick my finger toward the spider and the spider moves toward my finger I think of it as having an aggressive response to danger, which is how this little spider responded.

Images of this individual: tag all
juvenile female - Pirata piraticus small wolf spider - Pirata piraticus small wolf spider - Pirata piraticus small wolf spider - Pirata piraticus small wolf spider - Pirata piraticus

Ah! This must be the skating
Ah! This must be the skating spider of Christmas 2009.

 
Yes,
I just couldn't resist. =]

See image here.

Rod Crawford says,
"While I think this is a Pirata, you haven't given any direct dorsal view so it's hard to be certain. P.piraticus is not the only possibility even if it is a Pirata. If it had a fully typical "tuning fork" it was a Pirata, and if it had a strongly contrasting heart mark it was piraticus - both as in this figure.

Edit, dorsal added... verified piraticus.

 
similar experience
I had a very similar experience, also with a Lycosid (I believe). The photo may be seen here: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Rhf-kItXrSC_DNMXDDWKUA?feat=directlink.

At the time, I also felt from its behaviour that it was an aggressive display towards me (or rather, towards the camera), and not ballooning. If it is relevant, the photograph was taken in late April, in the Blue Hills, Massachusetts.

 
My camera takes movies
now, so I'll be able to document exactly what happens next time. =]

LOL!
This little one is in the process of "ballooning." They climb to the top of a tall object, issue silken threads from their spinnerets, stand on tip-toe (tip-tarsi?), and wait for the wind to catch the threads and blow them to a new destination. This is a major way young spiders disperse.

 
Yes, like ballooning,
however, this spider wasn't ballooning. It was definitely doing this in response to my actions. If I poked my finger at it, it reared up and tried to 'grab' it. If I moved closer it started this process of ballooning. If I backed off, it relaxed again. It was either using it as a way to scare me, or contemplating escaping? It certainly had an aggressive response to my interference.

 
I really just dropped in
to say I love this photo and wish it was mine! I always prefer simple, smooth comps like this because it makes the subject stand out so well. The relatively distant background really gives this the "long lens" look that I always go for.

After reading the discussion I'd say your spider may have been displaying multiple behaviors concurrently. This is definitely the appearance of a spider looking for the right wind, at least for this one frozen instant in time. Agonistic/predatory poses for females and immatures usually have the abdomen close to the ground with the front pair (or front two pair) of legs up, and after a tussle they may keep the whole body close to the ground with legs outstretched as in at least one of your other photos.

It's fair to point out I've only had maybe a half-dozen lycosids in captivity, ever. And all I did was feed/water them. Compared to 300-400 jumpers and all the kinky goings-on with that group, the lycosids didn't get a lot of my attention.

There's some good JoA papers on this. I don't have links handy, but if you google "JoA_v11_p407" you'll find one for female lycosids. And R.R. Jackson has an excellent one on Phidippus johnsoni that you might find interesting; search for "JoA_v5_p185". That one is titled 'mating tactics', but it goes plenty deep into different interactions.

 
Primo! Spider
Thanks Jay, I love this shot too. Thanks for the info.