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#285 Desertas Wolf Spider

Critically Endangered

Around the World in 80 Days - Day 76

There is no way Phileas Fogg would have come across these spiders. They are only found in one small valley on a very small island called Deserta Grande, which is part of an autonomous region of Portugal. Their small valley is being taken over by a grass that while native to the island, is not meant to be in their valley. The plants that were originally there were over grazed by introduced goats and rabbits. That meant that the native grass was able to move in. Unfortunately it completely covers the area, filling or blocking the spaces between rocks that the spiders absolutely need. It is estimated there were 4000 or so left as of 2012. That is almost nothing when you figure that at least one study said that around the world there are 131 spiders per 10-11 square foot area. That is an average, obviously in some areas there could be almost none (hopefully inside my house), and in what they considered ideal conditions they felt there could be as many as 1000 in the same amount of space. There are almost no protections for this spider, but the Bristol Zoo did start a breeding program and hopefully will be releasing spiders, along with removing the grass taking up their habitat that might give the spiders a chance. They are one of the largest wolf spiders, with a possible legspan of almost 5 inches. They eat insects, smaller spiders and even little lizards.

I always feel like I should put a warning on the post when I paint a spider. My mom reacts very strongly to spiders even in paintings so although I text her every day with my latest painting, I don't text her on spider days. I will say that the pictures of the wolf spider moms with their babies swarming on their back doesn't give me the "aww, what a loving mother" sort of feelings, it gives me the serious heebie jeebies instead. I dissected 2 human cadavers back in university, and I'd much rather do that again than see little swarming type animals. Ants, spider babies, and even a male seahorse giving birth really creeps me out. I can honestly understand why someone would like spiders. I appreciate them, but I can't risk them biting me. I can see why people might find having those gel filled ant houses fascinating, but I would quickly start to feel itchy any time I saw it if my kids had one. I love sea horses. I think they are beautiful and fascinating animals, but nope, not watching birthing videos. The absolute worst though, what I have to start watching cute animal videos after even just thinking about them is the Suriname Toad. That combines lots of babies swarming, and HOLES. Yeah, I'm one of those who for some probably really stupid reason hates seeing holes! I don't know why, and it isn't all holes either, but seeing holes in the back of the Suriname Toad with babies coming out of them is enough to give me nightmares! The best thing for me is to go watch a lot of videos of cute baby animals that don't have anything to do with swarming or holes. I'm thinking baby hippos, and orangutans will do the trick tonight, although puppies and kitties is always good too. I apologize if you have any of the same aversions as I do, this will probably be your least favourite post of any I do.

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