I took the picture above last summer in an area of exposed sand on Deas Island, near the Fraser River, outside Vancouver. I was collecting a small tub of sand to use as a substrate for some scorpions I had just acquired. While on my knees scooping up sand I spotted this amazing spider. I honestly don’t know how I saw it…this was the most amazing example of natural camouflage I have ever seen. The way this spider just disappears against the sand background is astounding. It helps that this critter was also a little dusty.
Luckily my camera was with me and I popped off some photos. It wasn’t easy because the spider wasn’t at all cooperative, and kept darting away. I have a nice collection of pictures of an out of focus spider as it took off just as I pressed the shutter! And every time it dashed off I had to try and find it all over again! I would have loved to have put it on a plain background to get a better look at it, but that just wasn’t possible.
As far as I can tell this species is an orange and black wolf spider (Arctosa perita). However, I also read that this species is common in Europe. So I am a little dubious about the identification—unless the species has been introduced to British Columbia.
Since taking these pictures I have been back to that location a couple of times, but haven’t found any more of these spiders. But I have no idea whether it was because they weren’t there, or I just couldn’t see them. I suspect the latter…