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Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - female

Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - Female
Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA
September 4, 2007
I found this one a couple weeks ago at the top of the embankment to the rain water retention pond at work and have been observing it during lunch and after work. I've sat and watched for a few hours and she never leaves the burrow. The tunnel goes straight down and has a very slight turret. I've stuck a long piece of a crabgrass stalk down into the burrow and tried to fish her out but that doesn't work; she'll let go. She comes up as far as in the photo and then "hand over hands" the stalk out of the burrow with her palps. How do you go about getting it out of the burrow? I've thought of using a garden shovel and trying to get below the spider and excavting it that way but the burrow is pretty deep and I wouldn't want to cut it in half or harm it. Which species could I expect around here?

Images of this individual: tag all
Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - female Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - female Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - female Geolycosa? - Geolycosa fatifera - female

Very cool.
Coloration, habitat, and location match fatifera.

Thanks Jeff. Any suggestions on coaxing it out of the burrow for a couple full body shots?


How can you be so sure about the identification of a spider from a picture - particularly one where you can't see the body of the spider?

What is the size of this spider?

You can either flush it out with water or use a pair of long forcepts to pull the spider out... Either way, you have to be careful.

do I need to see the body?
Why does size matter?

Why not
I don't generally confirm ID's until I've exausted all other possibilities. Particularly with Geolycosa, that would require at least a visual of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the body in addition to the anterior (though the anterior view alone is useful in pinning down Genus). Sometimes, if there aren't abundant visual records or a lack of distinct features, a closer examination of the spider might be required that is not limited to the length and positioning of the hairs on the legs, the topography of the carapace, the structure of the sex organs, and other fine details digital photography is unlikely to pick up...

There are only three species of Geolycosa native to Maryland: Geolycosa pikei, Geolycosa sepulchralis, and Geolycosa turricola.
So it is most likely not G. fatifera... though it's not impossible. To be perfectly honest, Glen Burnie is close to the last place I'd look for a Geolycosa, though I'm with you on the genus.

Particularly with the less common species, the best means of identification is to send the spider VIA US Mail to a trained entomologist/arachnologist. We shouldn't be confirming anything unless we have all the facts, and that would AT LEAST consist of having a number of photographs of different views of the spider. To confirm, I assume, means to be absolutely sure... which we are not. There is doubt in the room.

I don't doubt your abilities Jeff, you do a great job here (and I am impressed), but I just think you should be more careful in your evaluation!

Paul Day

Formally, the creator and webmaster of the Largest Wolf Spider website on the Internet, A Wolf In The Shadows (circa 2001-2002).

I remember 'losing my lycosa' or something similar, and I'm sorry to say it I thought it was lacking in accuracy.

I think it is safe to say this is not pikei.
G. sepulchralis is not described as living in the habitat mentioned above, from what I have read.
G. turricola might be a possibility, however, and I will investigate further to confirm or deny if possible.
G. fatifera is one of the most widespread species in the US, and this one seems to fit the bill, so in the meantime I will leave it here unless Stephen decides to move it.

A state that is not listed on the link does not necessarily mean a species does not occur in that state, hence your comment regarding only three species found in MD.

Also, anyone familiar with Geolycosa would instantly recognize this specimen as one from this image alone.

Well as lacking in accuracy as it was, it certainly attracted the attention of arachnologists and biology instructors who used it in their classes.

That's fine if you think you know more than me, but try to back it up with some real evidence instead of "Anyone who is as great as me would know from one picture" That's really arrogent...

sure how you came up with that hogwash.

What I wrote was 'anyone familiar with Geolycosa', and that is a fact, plain and simple.

If I thought I knew more than you I never would have moved the H. aspersa images to the species page, and I would not be second guessing image placement here.

Don't dive in shallow water.

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