Edge of Appalachia Preserve, owned and managed by the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center. The preserve's 16,000+ acres in Adams County contain some of the richest biodiversity in the Midwestern United States.
Last Saturday, I joined spider expert Richard Bradley, along with John Howard and Laura and David Hughes, for an epic natural history excursion. We were after a rare beetle (got it, check), and a couple of rare spiders. Along the way, we found scads of interesting flora and fauna, but I will confine this post to two supremely cool spiders, both of which were brand new to me.
The hunting technique of a Trapdoor Spider is beyond awesome. At night, it comes to the summit of the burrow, and pushes the trapdoor open ever so slightly. When prey wanders near - small insects mostly - the spider erupts from its burrow with blinding speed, and pounces. The victim is blanketed by the spider's large forelegs, and quickly pulled back into the burrow where it will be eaten. If all goes smoothly, the entire attack sequence, from trapdoor popping open to spider bursting forth to prey disappearing back into the burrow, takes just a second or so.
Here's a great video of a Trapdoor Spider in action: CLICK HERE.
When one of these moths flutters in to investigate the source of the pseudo-pheromone, the spider deftly swings the bolas and snares it. The moth is then reeled in and eaten. I would love to be able to stake one of these spider out long enough to observe - and hopefully photograph - a kill.