about this project
For most of my life, spiders were not something I was afraid of. Humorously, it was during my undergraduate where I was doing research on stress and memory that involved showing participants a spider-filled slideshow that I started to get more anxious around them. I sort-of became hyper-vigilant looking for spiders since I kept seeing them during data collection multiple times per week.
Since moving to Virginia, our little basement apartment is shared with various bits of Virginia spider life. the most dangerous I've encountered were two black widows (one in a sliding glass door at my first apartment in VA, the second hiding in a cinderblock that I found while pulling weeds), but they barely moved. The true terrors are the wolf spiders.
Wolf spiders are hunters. To aid in hunting they have two huge front face eyes that shine in direct light. They are venomous, but don't often bite humans unless provoked. Most are an inch or so in size, but, terrifyingly, they can grow much larger. The shed that our lawn mower is stored in is a haven for large wolf spiders. A few years ago I noticed a particularly large 7-legged spider. I may or may not have provoked it and saw it attacking my poking stick on video.
A few weeks ago I noticed another large wolf spider when I was putting the mower away (it scared me when I pulled the door shut and saw something crawling on the outside close to me).
With its legs, this wolf spider covered about 2 inches in size.
While I'm not a huge fan of the giant spiders, I do respect that they do keep the obnoxious camel crickets (spider crickets) population in check.