She’s a whopper!

This substantial lady was identified as Arkansas’ largest wolf spider, Hogna carolinensis. My hand is next to her in the second photo for scale. Thanks to both Dr. John Hopkins, extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, and Dr. Jeffrey Barnes, curator o the University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum for the ID. 


Big spider.
BIG SPIDER — Wolf spider resting in the shade of a street sign on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Big spider with hand.
FOR SCALE — Photographer’s hand next to this large female for scale.

Fantastic funnel

For some reason, funnel web spiders are everywhere this year, spinning their funnels in window corners, siding slats and of course anywhere they can find in the woods.  The one pictured below was a foot high and maybe twice as wide. The weaver was no doubt safely ensconced at the bottom of the funnel’s throat. Another common web, made by bowl and doily spiders can be seen in every pine tree and are more prominent when beaded with morning dew.

Fantastic funnel web.
A huge funnel spider’s web measured about a foot high and larger across.
Funnel web, looking down the hole.
A look down the throat of the funnel.
Bowl and doily weaver's web.
Bowl and doily weaver’s web.


Fall is mating season for tarantulas and that’s when males tend to roam looking for a mate. Tarantula sightings have been thin this year, but while doing some yard work today, we spotted a big one zig-zagging around the driveway.  During the late summer, we’d noticed a few more burrows and speculated that they might be tarantula homes.  We’re glad to see them. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, tarantulas have only been in the Natural State for 8,000 years.  They seem to have adapted quite nicely since then.

Been a very spiderific Sunday!

WANDERING -- A big tarantula -- maybe 5-6 inches across -- wanders the driveway on Sunday afternoon. His behind is front and center in this shot.
SLANTING SHADOWS -- Tarantula casts a long shadow in the November afternoon sun.
DARK and FUZZY -- Top view of our Sunday wanderer.