geolycosa?

spider pest

Arachnoknight
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On Sunday I spent a couple hours at the spot in NJ where I collected h. carolinensis. I saw lots of pencil sized holes in the sand, but I was hoping to find some turreted hogna burrows. No such luck, but I did spot this on the side of the road/trail I was walking along:



I thought it was a carolina burrow at first, but this is the first large burrow I've seen in person, so I wasn't positive.

I probed the burrow with a long thin piece of grass for a little while. My first glimpse of the spider was a quick peek at its legs. After some persistence, it finally popped out, legs raised, with its face covered in dirt! It was quite the spectacle. She kept up the defensive behavior until I finally got her into a vial. No measurements yet, but I'd say it's like a stockier h. helluo.





Apologies for the camera phone pictures. I'll get better ones when I'm able. Her throax is very stocky and a bit rounded. The chelicerae are very big, as is the whole "face". I was on bugguide a bit,and geolycosa looks like a match. Any thoughts?
 

loxoscelesfear

Arachnoprince
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That's a Geolycosa alright. Nice find. Great burrow pictures as well. carolinensis burrows look similar. H. helluo does not construct burrows and is a smaller spider.
 

spider pest

Arachnoknight
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Cool! I can't wait to get back down there and keep looking. Yeah, the only helluos I've seen have been under rocks, although they took to pre-made burrows in captivity and even closed them up at times.

I was very excited to find this burrow. I found it right after a moment where I had considered heading back to the car. I saw those pine needles around the rim and was like "whoa!"
 

loxoscelesfear

Arachnoprince
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They are very hardy spiders. Mine just produced an egg sac a week or so ago.
 

spider pest

Arachnoknight
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Thanks jsloan!

When I have better pictures to look at it might help, but based on bugguide I'm leaning towards g. fatifera or g. missouriensis.
 

spider pest

Arachnoknight
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She died! Found her curled up this morning. She had fresh water available and had eaten. Will try and get some detailed shots when the camera is available.
 

loxoscelesfear

Arachnoprince
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that stinks . been lucky w/ mine so far. book i have states that they really stress out once removed from their burrow. i haven't seen any evidence of that in mine. i found mine outside of her burrow, heck never even seen a burrow.
 

spider pest

Arachnoknight
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Here's a couple better pics. I had the spider in the freezer with its legs outstretched, but when I took it outside to take pictures, the legs started to curl immediately so I cut things short.



 

loxoscelesfear

Arachnoprince
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still couldn't tell you the exact species. preserve it in some alcohol w/ collection data, at least that's what i would.
 

jsloan

Arachnoangel
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still couldn't tell you the exact species. preserve it in some alcohol w/ collection data, at least that's what i would.
Yes, that's better than freezing it. You probably already know this, but use 70% alcohol, not 95 or 99%, or the specimen will become brittle. If you get your alcohol from the drugstore, use isopropanol (rubbing alcohol). Avoid denatured ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which has additives (to make it undrinkable) that can damage the specimen.
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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jsloan- I've had problems with isopropyl breaking down chitin in specimens...at least enough to discolor the alcohol.

Now I don't doubt that this is the preferred method for storage when being used to find future morphological features, but how about for curing dried specimens? In the short term(esp. for curing abdomens for drying), I've used acetone or 95% alcohol with good success.
 

jsloan

Arachnoangel
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jsloan- I've had problems with isopropyl breaking down chitin in specimens...at least enough to discolor the alcohol.
I think that for larger spiders, or lots of spiders in one vial (as in a collection vial), body fluids can dilute the alcohol and discolor it. I just change the alcohol to a fresh solution when that happens.

I don't know about the breaking down of chitin. I've had some specimens where the membranes seem to separate and shrink from the inside of the exoskeleton, often visible through the carapace. Is that what you mean? I haven't figured out how to prevent that or predict which specimens it will happen with.

One problem I haven't solved yet is the abdomens of large, fat orb weavers (usually the top front area) often rot a little even after being put into alcohol; and, in some cases, they even burst open (differences in osmotic pressure, maybe?). This is also unpredictable. Some specimens preserve perfectly, but I don't know what made the difference between those and the others.

Now I don't doubt that this is the preferred method for storage when being used to find future morphological features, but how about for curing dried specimens? In the short term(esp. for curing abdomens for drying), I've used acetone or 95% alcohol with good success.
Unfortunately, I've never tried to prepare dry spider specimens, so I don't know anything about the process or what to recommend. What would the dry specimens be used for?
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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I don't know about the breaking down of chitin. I've had some specimens where the membranes seem to separate and shrink from the inside of the exoskeleton, often visible through the carapace. Is that what you mean?

One problem I haven't solved yet is the abdomens of large, fat orb weavers (usually the top front area) often rot a little even after being put into alcohol; and, in some cases, they even burst open (differences in osmotic pressure, maybe?). This is also unpredictable. Some specimens preserve perfectly, but I don't know what made the difference between those and the others.

Unfortunately, I've never tried to prepare dry spider specimens, so I don't know anything about the process or what to recommend. What would the dry specimens be used for?
I should have been more specific about the chitin. With larger, hardbodied specimens(not always spiders, but arthropods in general), I've had the exo crack while stored in isopropyl. I stopped using it because I had the notion that(because of discoloration) the alcohol was breaking down the physicality of the specimen and I'd wind up with a non-descript chunk of flesh.

The dried specimens are merely for display & for comparison at outreaches.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
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