Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

2011-04-14T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Robin Mores
"I study detrital food webs, specifically the interaction pathways between wolf spiders and their prey. Wolf spiders are cursorial, meaning that instead of building webs they hunt for food within the leaf-litter of the forest-floor. These animals are both small and cryptic; it is difficult for a scientist to watch the spiders to see what they eat, yet these interactions are important to overall forest stability and ecosystem functioning. I am in the process of building a PCR lab that will examine the DNA within wolf spider's gut contents in order to prove what they eat. From this information, I will be able to elucidate the interactions pathways that exist within the forest-floor food web. During the summer of 2009 I caught wolf spiders from Palos, IL which are now being housed at UIC. These spiders will be used in the development of PCR testing. The image seen here is of a day-old wolf spider, which hatched from an egg sac on the UIC campus. This spider will remain on his mother’s back for several days before adventuring out on his own."

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