Build it and they will come OR Landscaping for spiders 101

by Eric Neubauer

A special spider story: I’ve developed an interest in this Pardosa mercurialis partially because it’s the only Pardosa species in Texas that anyone on iNat can reliably identify. They have particular habitat preferences which make them more common in the hill country than on the prairie. I’ve been looking far and wide for them for over a year and had only found one colony in Milam County. Needless to say, I’d become pretty familiar with the habitats they like.

For the last few months, I’ve been piling up chert nodules around the outlet of a culvert under the driveway all the time thinking the spiders might like it if only they could find it. I could try importing some spiders, but it’s better to let nature do her own thing.

At this point there were about six square feet of nodules, and I was adding half a bucket more so any pioneering spiders wouldn’t laugh at my meager efforts and move on. As I was placing some rocks by hand, I saw movement and realized I needn’t have worried. A well grown juvenile was already there.

When I came back for the empty bucket 10 minutes later, it was sunning itself on a rock the way they do. I’d never seen one on my property or within 10 miles of it before.

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