I was collecting Blue Devil seed in my garden today when nearby, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white egg approximately 10 mm diameter disappearing quickly down into a hole in the ground, like a white billiard ball into a pocket.
Putting the seed aside I grabbed my camera and waited patiently until I saw the white ball reappear…. being carried by a spider!
The spider hung around the entrance to its burrow, holding the egg sac between its hind legs facing it towards the sun. Every time I tried to photograph this the spider retreated into its burrow. I would go away for a while and come back to find it sunning its egg sac once again. This went on from midday until 6pm!
From Museum Victoria website about Wolf Spiders: “Males court female through a series of leg drums and vibrations while ‘dancing’ with his forelegs. If the female is receptive she will allow him to approach. The male will then present the female with a sperm package on one of his palpal bulbs, (as spiders do not have penises) which she will store and use to fertilise her eggs. Sometime after fertilisation the female produces an egg sac by weaving a circular mat of fine silk onto which she deposits a hundred or more eggs. She then weaves silk around the eggs, draws up the sides of the mat and sews it into a silken ball. The size of this silken ball is often about the same as the spider itself. Using strong silken threads, she then attaches the egg case to the under surface of her abdomen using her spinnerets (the organs that make silk) and carries it with her, even when hunting. She incubates the eggs during the day by facing the egg case towards the sun and slowly turning it. Thirty to forty days later the eggs hatch producing up to 200 spiderlings. The spiderlings do not immediately disperse. Instead they climb up their mother’s legs and ride on her back for a few weeks, often covering her several layers deep. The spiderlings do not share any of the prey that the mother catches, and if they fall off they are not rescued. When they are ready to fend for themselves they disperse via silk strands. This maternal care of the spiderlings is unusual in the spider world”.