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Burrowing Wolf Spider - Geolycosa wrighti

Burrowing Wolf Spider - Geolycosa wrighti
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan, USA
August 16, 2007
Size: ~6 mm (est. from photo)
According to my notes from (1), Geolycosa wrightii builds its burrows on bare inland sand dunes and beaches; it makes no turret and lines its burrows thickly with silk. Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the four collection sites shown in that reference. So I was wondering if that might be what I've got here. I scooped this spider out of its burrow, which had an entrance about the size of a tiger beetle larva's hole, and the silk was thick enough that the sand-coated tube retained its shape after I'd scooped it up.

Images of this individual: tag all
Burrowing Wolf Spider - Geolycosa wrighti Burrowing Wolf Spider - Geolycosa wrighti Burrowing Wolf Spider - Geolycosa wrighti

Moved from Spiders.

Your ID looks great
Did you happen to see the underside of its abdomen when you scooped it out? Was it jet black?

This does seem to be an immature G. wrightii. If the front two legs were darker towards the ends (on the tibia area), it might be a textbook image of the G. wrightii species. I don't think it would hurt to make a new guide page for this... as there are other images in lycosidae that I know are also this species (or at least I'm 96% sure they are). Nice photos, BTW. I'm glad you got one of the burrow, too!

It wouldn't hurt to have Kevin and John Sloan take a look before making the ID definite, though, of course.

I started a guide page, but I'll wait a little bit to see if anyone protests before I move these images there.

Sorry to ask again, lol... but I really want to know: Did you happen to see if the underside of the abdomen was black?

Oh, whoops...
I meant to answer that. Nope, I have no memory of what the underside looked like, and unfortunately these are the only two shots I have of this spider.

Page is there
but I don't feel comfortable making the ID.

Well, how many lycosids make such burrows on the shores of inland sand dunes and beaches? Maybe Charley can go back in September/October, when they mature, and find us an adult or two (hint, hint).


At the time that I was perusing The Wolf Spiders, Nurseryweb Spiders, and Lynx Spiders of Canada and Alaska, I was struck by how well the habitat, location, and burrow description matched this spider, and I didn't see any viable alternatives. I guess I'll go ahead and move the images to the guide page I made, and people can see from the comments here that the ID is based on this circumstantial evidence rather than keying out the spider itself.

Can't promise a return to Sleeping Bear Dunes in the near future--just happened to be in the area for a wedding--but I'll see what I can do. :)

One thing...
"The Insects & Arachnids of Canada, Part 17" only covers the genera and species of Canada and Alaska. I know that's quite an obvious statement... but I just wanted to mention that there could very well be other species that match the habitat, locality, and burrow description as well. There are only 3 Geolycosa species described in "The Insects & Arachnids of Canada, Part 17", but there are a total of 21 nearctic species. Many of which are very well represented in the SE United States. I do still think there is a good chance of this one being G. wrighti, based on all the descriptions I've read, but just as Kevin mentioned this one isn't mature yet... and I wonder whether the venter was black and if the front two tibiae will darken with age. I do think this spider is fine in the G. wrighti guide page, I think it nearly perfectly matches the dorsal description of what one should or would look like. One of these days/weeks/months/years, I want to spend a nice, long time studying lycosids. It's one of my favorite families, yet I barely know much about the identification aspect. Soon, young Jedi. Soon. :)

Duly noted... :)
This site was within 100 miles of Canada. I figured it was a reasonably good bet that what I found there would be covered by a guide to Canadian wolf spiders. But I think we're all agreed that while highly probable, this is not a firm ID. If another good candidate comes along, we can always bump this back to genus (or family?) level.

I look forward to learning what you learn about lycosids, whenever you get around to it. :)

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