Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rockless Flipping Day

This week's rainfall.

It's been a nice rainy week as evidenced by this old party tub out in the garden. The faded pink carpet is residue from remodeling (No more germy carpet in the house!!) and is currently doing weed suppression duty.

So apparently, in that "let's all do something odd together" spirit that runs ragged through the blogosphere, it's "Flip Over A Rock Day".

Okaaayyyyy ...

What if you live in a rockless place?

I got sand.
I could flip over a log or that old piece of plywood, but all we'd see is termites and carpenter ants, so this morning I went searching for something that was at least part of the underworld.
Along the way, I stumbled across this neat, round hole in the lawn.

I thought it might be a tiger beetle larva pit trap and I wondered if it was occupied. Dr. Don Hall, an entomologist at the University of Pure Florida taught me how to check for occupancy during a field entomology course for teachers.
It's elegantly simple ...

Pick a blade of grass and ...

... flip it into the hole.
( This hole was was deep enough that the blade of grass actually disappeared completely into it when I tossed (flipped) it in.)
Then watch the blade of grass. If the hole is occupied, the blade of grass will begin to move around. I used the video feature of my digital camera to shoot a few seconds of this, since Blooger now has video upload capabilities, but it was too grainy. I'll use the real video camera the next time.
Anyway, I didn't have long to wait. The blade of grass began moving almost immediately and in a few seconds, it began rising up in the hole.


I assume this is some variety of trapdoor or funnel web spider.
I'm thankful for gravity and the current 21% atmospheric oxygen levels that keep the arthropod clan small.


Anonymous said...


MinorcanMeteorolgist said...

AAAAEEEEEWWWWWW! UUUUUGH! I may be an outdoorsman, but I just can't handle the spiders. *shiver*

Anonymous said...

That was just awesome!!! I learn more here than walking out my back door ;)

Anonymous said...

FC! WE dont like spiders, remember? And that's a big honkin spider! I have to admit- this is a very cool post. Also, we discover that FC is a tool user, in the finest primate tradition. Speaking of tools, FLIP video ( is very nice and priced right.

Anonymous said...

Nice find for the day!

Surely you have a FEW rocks there.

kathy a. said...

at least that spider isn't spinning the webs of doom aboveground. it's almost big enough to be a classroom pet, don't you think?

R.Powers said...

Nice ads.

Me neither. I kept my distance.

Now you'll be looking for holes in your backyard. Or not :)

I credit my opposable thumbs.
If I were really primating, I would have slurped him off the grass as a snack.
I guess I'm too evolved for that.

I have three oddly shaped rocks that live in the house, but I figured nothing would be under them :)

Kathy A,
I can't bring myself to use the word "spider" and "pet" in the same sentence ;)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I'm another one of those with near-arachniphobia, so this little bugger spooks me out. Please keep him in Florida.

Sharon said...


SophieMae said...

Way cool spider! I don't mind them so much.. as long as they're a respectable distance. 130+/- miles is respectable enough. 8-}

Saw your comment about USF's smallness. Funny, when I was there - coming from a lifetime in a small town and small schools - it seemed incredibly huge!

And re the pawpaws. I have to agree they're pretty insipid. It's the principle.

pissed off patricia said...

That pic of the spider looks like the beginning scene of a monster movie. I wouldn't mess with him or her.

R.Powers said...

Are you sure you don't want one?


I like your safety zone parameters.
On USF, I agree, just a relative size comparison. I'm sure it seems big to my Emma too.
Glad to hear that about the Pawpaw. I thought I was missing something everyone else got.

Makes going barefoot all the more exhilarating!

robin andrea said...

I will always remember the grass blade trick. I like it, and the results are beautiful. Great, creepy spider.

Cathy said...

Yikes! I'll bet you weren't using the macro feature of your camera. I mean watching that monster come into the light . . . .
{{ Shudder }}

swamp4me said...

Beautiful spider. Man, I would have given just about anything to have seen your face when she came out of that hole! Most probably one of the burrowing wolf spiders of the Geolycosa group. Nice!!

R.Powers said...

Try it sometime!

Monster about says it all.

Sheer heeby jeeby pretty much describes my face. I think I took the picture when I flinched.

Anonymous said...

That is one frightening critter but an amazing (and brave) shot. When I first saw it I thought it was a crab of some sort. (Well..your blog does say Florida. :)
Have you seen any postings about the huge webs they are finding in trees in Texas?

R.Powers said...

Welcome to Pure Florida!
We do have fiddler crabs who burrow, so your first impression is pretty reasonable.
I listened to an NPR story about the Texas webs last week. Pretty eerie.

Thunder said...

I'm thinking it's a Wolf Spider perhaps!

viagra online said...

I can not explain to myself how you can be so close to the spiders, they really scare me, but I have to accept the it is a weird one.

Holiday in South Africa said...

Nice tactic you have used.

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