Today while I was harvesting some strawberries (yes, we're still getting strawberries!), I thought for sure I had discovered a new species of spider.
It's body alone had to be at least an inch across.
But the size of the spider didn't phase me much -- I've seen spiders this size before, even inside our old farmhouse! It looked like a wolf spider, and, although I know there are tons of different kinds of wolf spiders, I had never seen a wolf spider here in Virginia with such a fuzzy body.
I was pretty sure I either stumbled across a spider with some weird disease, or I discovered a new species of spider. And as I stared at the spider trying to think of what I would name my new discovery (the Caryl Spider? The Fuzzy-Wuzy Spider?, The Sweater-Wearing Spider?, The Teddybear Spider?), I saw something on it's back move ever so slightly.
The spider stayed very still and let me inch closer. so I moved in as close as possible to get a better look. I'm as blind as a bat, so I had to get pretty close.
To my astonishment, I realized that this wasn't just one big spider, but hundreds of spiders! Teeny tiny baby spiders were hitching a ride on their mother's back and she was just plodding along like it was nothing out of the ordinary.
She very patiently allowed me to take a few photos of her babies and then disappeared into the strawberries. Just think of all the bugs she and her brood will be eating in my garden!
ps -- I'm pretty sure her name was Charlotte.