The Beach Spiders of Michigan
Visiting a couple of the Great Lakes this summer, I took notice of something that I was already aware of, but never really paid attention to.
While looking for fossils and other unique rocks, I kept seeing these little black spiders darting in, out, under, and around the dried-out limestone rocks. I’d seen them in the past but never paid attention…well, this year I did.
Most beach spiders are Beach Wolf Spiders. These little guys hang out at the water’s edge, be it lake, river, pond, swamp…basically on any Michigan beach.
You don’t really notice ‘em until you move some stones, then they scurry away, usually under a nearby rock…and they are quick. They are easily camouflaged among the beach debris, driftwood, and stones. And yeah, they may bite you if you make them mad. Their bite is poisonous, but evidently not lethal to humans…..I’m guessing unless you happen to be allergic.
They don’t make webs, so why do they hang out on the beach? They’re on the lookout for tiny invertebrate creatures as their food source. They usually take advantage of camouflage and just sit, waiting for food to walk by and deliver itself…then they grab and eat. Then a human will come along and disturb the process, causing the spiders to zip ‘n zow over & under beach stones looking for a new place to hide.
The ones I usually see are dark brown or black, called Pardosa Lowrie. But there are light-colored ones that blend easily with sand and white limestones, called Arctosa Littotalis. Will they crawl on you while lying on the beach? Possibly, but more than likely not unless you're disturbing them.
Next time you’re at a shoreline looking for rocks, you’ll see ‘em…..there are hundreds, maybe thousands of them on any given beach. And don’t forget, they will bite if you push ‘em too hard.