I picked up a rock and met a spider.

I think the only spider I will ever take a heartful liking to would be jumping spiders; others tend to make my shoulders shiver, yes we all have our boundaries. ;0) 

According to Spider ID, there are 59 known spiders in Florida. 

I wasn’t sure what species this spider was. I took some photos so I would have images to upload on iNaturalist for identification, after that, I carefully placed the rock back in its place.

When I encounter any plant, insect, or organism, I love to research about them. I like to find if there’s anything interesting that other nature explorers or biologists have observed or any particular adaptations that make the species unique. And for this spider, I did.

The Sosippus floridanus is a species of the wolf spider within the Lycosidae family. Plus it is only found in Florida and first to be documented in 1898. (NMBE – World Spider Catalog) It’s hard to even envision what the ecosystems looked like back there. What these researchers and biologists saw and, especially what species they stumbled upon. They may have observed the very first species in Florida or a species that developed new adaptations within its flora and fauna family. Everything during that time line was the first in documentation.

The Sosippus floridanus is among the 9 other Sosippus, 5 in the USA and 4 in Mexico, and then is a species shared with USA and Mexico the Sosippus californicus.

The Sosippus floridanus is adapted to xeric habitats. (Xeric- an environment or habitat containing little moisture; very dry.)  photo by Alice Mary Herden

So what makes this spider, Sosippus floridanus, a member of the wolf spider, so special? It’s web building.

Not all spiders construct those ornate and intricate webs, some spiders like the Green Lynx spider and crab spiders create silk lines. I believe the spiders’ web-creating abilities correspond with their hunting behavior and in turn enable them to have their very own adaptations. 

ADAPTATIONS: a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment

The  Sosippus floridanus construct sheet webs and tubular retreats. Even though their webbing construction begins closer to ground level, they start with a varied constructed sheet layer leading to the tubular portion. They develop the web sheets around a higher elevated object, which could be fallen vegetation and branches, grasses, etcetera. Then the spider forms the tube-like web. It’s somewhat like looking down the center of a tornado. 

Upon researching other spiders within the Sosippus genus, some of these spiders dig holes in the ground or hide under rocks or vegetation debris. They will ‘hunt and chase’ their prey.

A friendly reminder, there are some spiders that do inject deadly venom, so if you do not have extensive knowledge about spiders, it’s best just to let them be when you encounter them in the wild. They are nature’s pest control and they have their purpose in nature.

It’s spring and the spiders are out and about. I am looking forward to discovering more of them, especially with a macro lens!

Be safe in your travels!

Links for further reading

Brady, Allen R. “Sosippus Revisited: Review of a Web-Building Wolf Spider Genus from the Americas (Araneae, Lycosidae).” The Journal of Arachnology, vol. 35, no. 1, 2007, pp. 54–83. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25067812. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Arthropod Conservation and Biodiversity (usf.edu)

(PDF) Habitat associations of the web-building Wolf spiders Sosippus floridanus and Sosippus placidus (Lycosidae: Sosippinae): A widespread generalist versus an endemic specialist (researchgate.net)

Spiders in Florida – Species & Pictures (spiderid.com)

arac_28_305.133_140.tp (americanarachnology.org)

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) | Spidapedia Wiki | Fandom

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