This is not the face that comes to mind when you think of maternal devotion – but this wolf spider is a surprisingly dedicated parent. The Earth Touch crew took a break from filming Botswana’s larger wildlife to snap a few amazing photos of the arachnid’s unusual parenting technique.
Saddled with a brood of dozens (as many as 100!) of cumbersome spiderlings, the mother adopts a rather unusual piggyback strategy that’s unique to wolf spiders: she carries them!
She’s pretty well equipped for these baby-carrying duties: a special silken egg sac (attached to the spinnerets at the end of her abdomen) keeps the unborn young safe and sound until they’re ready to hatch – at which point it’s only a short clamber up their mother’s legs and onto her abdomen. Excess baggage this may be, but it doesn’t stop the female spider from hunting successfully.
For another example of peculiar parenting, check out this Earth Touch video featuring mouth-brooding cichlid fish. The cichlid fry (or newly hatched fish) take cover inside their mother’s mouth at any sign of approaching danger.