Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - June 1, 2005)
Picnicking with nature leads to lesson learned
The cool spring day begged for a picnic. We
recently received a beautiful, picnic backpack as a gift and we were anxious to try
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|On closer observation we
discovered that this field wolf spider was a mom with baby
spiderlings upon her back.
Rick and I enjoy being outdoors, me the writer-artist, Rick the photographer. We
make a great team.
With blanket, our favorite foods, a bag of charcoal, lighter and our new backpack
we set out for a rendezvous toward the Alafia River in hopes of also discovering
some new playgrounds for our kayaks.
The freshly unfurled leaves shown transparent yellow-green as the sun rose higher
in the sky.
Little brown rabbits nibbled upon tender blades of grass in the shade of ancient
live oaks. Blue Jays, cardinals, a myriad of warblers, robins, and a pair of
pileated woodpeckers chirped, sang and twittered from the treed canopy. Bikers in
professional gear swooped by along a rugged trail designated: rough terrain,
At this junction, the waters of the Alafia moved so slowly that a green surface
spread from near shore to shore. A common-moorhen made her way across the river to
her nestlings. The green glass surface seemed to shatter as clouds in the sky
reflected on the calm fracture left behind.
After unpacking and setting up for a days adventure in nature, we noticed a
curious visitor in our camp. The visitor appeared peculiar, globoid with bumpy
spots. Id never seen a spider like this before and yet I realized something
about it was familiar. I took a couple of quick photos and turned back to preparing
our meal when I realized Rick was lying on the ground with his lens peered directly
upon this odd looking spider.
Hot dogs became blackened, buns a little too crusty but Rick was in a world
photographers go when nothing around them exists other than that world. After a
long silence he announced, Shes a mom! I quickly joined him, but
not too close. Spiders are not my favorite things. Sure enough, though, there were
possibly 50, tiny, crawling baby spiders upon her back and an egg sack still
attached. Now I realized why she appeared familiar. Underneath all those lumpy,
bumpy babies was a field wolf spider, Hogna lenta.
If it hadnt been for Ricks persistent curiosity and the advantage of a
closeup lens we might have missed one of the most important phenomena of our day.
In all my travels I have never seen a mother spider like this with baby spiderlings
upon her back. Quickly I went over to the grill and removed our well cooked food.
Ah well, it will taste just as delicious cold, I thought, and returned to observe
this little miracle.
Field wolf spiders are similar to the wolf spiders you find around your house and
are fairly nonconfrontational, but will give a bite if provoked or they feel
threatened. Although the bite is not venomous it can really hurt. Having
experienced such a bite I can attest to that fact. While camping a few years back,
a wolf spider decided that my pillow was the perfect place to take a rest until I
turned over with my arm upon it. She saw that as a threatening gesture and
immediately issued me a nasty bite which was swollen and painful for at least a
The field wolf spider female lives in a burrow and she eats other insects. She
spins a lens-shaped oval cocoon which she attaches to herself with spinnerets and
drags around. The cocoon we saw was gray, but apparently when first spun it is
greenish. Take a closer look at our photo and you also will see tiny spiderlings
upon our field wolf spiders back.
This little spider taught me to take my time, to not dismiss anything in nature
and to take a closer look, because the most unusual things might just prove to be
familiar miracles, back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.