Tigrosa annexa (Wolf Spider)

This is a tentative identification, because I can see from the bugguide forums that not everyone is decided on what this species is or even what genus it’s in, but based on “two yellow dashes flanking the median stripe in the cephalic region“, I’m pinning this lovely female wolf spider as Tigrosa annexa.

Formerly members of the genus Hogna, Tigrosa has five species in North America. It is named for the stripes on the dorsal body and legs, and apparently for a “fierce nature”, although this individual was exceptionally tolerant of being sprayed by a hose (I’m so sorry! She was in my flowerbed) and then photographed. She was about 2 cm long from one end to the other (including legs).

Formally named only in 2012, Tigrosa annexa suffers from Wikipedia Stub Syndrome, and doesn’t even seem to have a common name. Lycosidae (wolf spiders) in general are sturdy, mobile hunters who do not build webs, but rather hide and wait for passing prey or even actively chase and grab them. As you may guess from looking at those two huge frontal/central eyes, wolf spiders have excellent eyesight, and can be detected at night by shining a flashlight in the grass; the spiders’ eyes will show up through eyeshine, with the light reflected off the tapetum lucidum in the backs of their eyes.

Wolf spiders are also notable in that the females carry their eggs, and later their young, around with them, leading to those terrifying photographs with one large spider carrying a payload of smaller spiders as though preparing to drop them on the unsuspecting. In reality, it’s a rare (among spiders) act of parental care.

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