Wolf Spider and Brood survive drowning in swimming pool

Water Spider
Location: Sacramento, CA area
September 10, 2011 1:41 pm
What is this big, bumpy-looking spider I found submerged in our pool filter basket? It’s September and we live in Northern CA.
Signature: HJM

Drowned Wolf Spider with Brood of Spiderlings

Dear HJM,
Many hapless creatures fall into swimming pools and drown.  This is a female Wolf Spider, and the bumps are her brood of Spiderlings which she carries about on her back after they hatch.  This maternal care affords some protection to the young Spiderlings, but unfortunately, once the mother fell into the pool, there was not much she could do to protect her brood.  We have had similar tragedies submitted to our site in the past, and some like this submission from 2009, have happy endings.

Thanks so much!  I actually figured it out shortly after emailing you.  I don’t know how she and her babies were alive, submerged like that.  When I brought up the basket, she seemed ok.  I left the basket up and out of the water and came inside to make my inquiries.  When I went back outside, the basket had fallen back down, but mom was perched on the top of the stem and all those little bumps came to life.  That’s when I saw all the little babies crawling on and around her.  How did they live submerged in the water the way they were?  I don’t think they all got rescued, but I did my best to drop mom and babies off in one spot.  Do you think the ants in there were harassing the babies?
Here are the photos:

Dear HJM,
Thanks for writing back and clarifying that the mother and brood actually survived the drowning incident.  This has happened enough times for us to speculate that Spiders might be able to survive total submergence for a considerable length of time if they have the opportunity to dry out afterwards.

Yep!  They can!

Thanks so much for providing us with the spider resurrection link.

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