Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses Page: 55
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TEXAS NATURE OBSERVATIONS AND REMINISCENCES. 55
not much larger than a pin head.
They were of crab form, hairy,
and showed well-developed spin-
ing claws and six eyve-lenses, on
microscopic examination. The il-
lustration shows how the mother
spider, after preparing the inside
funnel-shaped breeding nest-
and which contains innumerous
spider eggs-artistically spun its
delicate threads from one edge of
the spoon over the other margin,
thus covering the breeding nest
which serves to protect the young
developed brute as well as to en-
tangle insects, which later serve
The greatest enemy of spiders
rolled around and around, until,
after several attempts, it succeed-
ed in plunging its sharp stinger
into the spider's body, and it ex-
pired at once. After this it car-
ried its victim to a nearby hole.
and disappeared with the tarantu-
la under ground. The illustration
in these pages I reproduced flr
this article from IIarper's Illus-
trated Journal, as it is a fine and
lifelike presentation of this pe-
culiar vicious and useful wasp.
It is an interesting study to
note the breeding cycles c: spiders
and some years ago, whilst engag-
ed in some private entomological
research and microscopic study of
A ASll ()FsM IA I. PRAIIE TARANT LAS WITH BREEDING NEST AND
COcoON IN HOLLOW OF A TREE BARK.
is a large, yellowish-brown wasp
-a ground wasp. This wasp
haunts the tarantula's breeding
nest, attacks the spider unaware,
inoculating it after a deadly duel
and drags it into its underground
breeding hole. A friend of mine
-a farmer-witnessed such a bat-
tle last year in a cotton field. It
was a large, black tarantula,
crawling along the mesquite grass
and cotton furrows, whence all
of a sudden one of the "tarantula
killers"--a long, brown wasp-
came along, attacked the spider--
always from the abdominal side,
and a fierce battle to the death
ensued. Wasp and tarantula
the arachnid family, several mi-
croscopic mountings of the ova in
different stages of development
were prepared. Also, a breeding nest
with myriads of youngspiders,entan-
gled in the interior web linings of
the cocoon is seen elsewhere, rep-
resenting the broodnest of our
large orange and black colored
prairie spider-the same species
represented in the photo illustra-
tion showing three prairie spiders.
It was during a hunting trip, in
a severe cold winter month, out
in the postoak valley of the Olmos,
that I ca'ne across this interesti;g
nest. It was suspended on the
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Menger, R. Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses, book, 1913; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143558/m1/59/?q=menger: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.