Habitat and Life Cycle

        The Schizocosa mccooki resides in openly exposed areas such as the pinyon- juniper woodland located in New Mexico (Lowrie, 2013) Another common place the S. mccooki inhabits is the northern grasslands of California, where they have been reported as having “unreported burrowing behavior” (Suttle, 2003) where they are supposedly lining the inside of their burrows with a silk texture. A very populated area is a regional strip from the western point of Lake Erie south (Lowrie, 2013)  and west to California in and around these areas the S. mccooki can be located in full exposure habitats. The burrows of the S. mccooki can have multiple serving functions. One of the functions would be for shelter (Suttle, 2003) the S. mccooki has been known to reside in their burrows at time of light. Another function of the burrow would be to consume their prey that they have foraged for. As described in the research of Dr. Suttle, the S. mccooki will bring the prey back that has been slain and consume the nutrients and minerals on the doorstep to the burrow. This offers an increase in protection for weather, and also other predators out looking for an easy meal (Suttle, 2003). Lastly the burrow can be used as a place to perform their ritualistic mating process.

                                   Photo consent Peter J. Bryant, University of California, Irvine

   The life cycle of the S. mccooki begins with hatching from an egg, the female constructs an egg sac of silk and gaurds the sac until the spiderlings are ready to hatch (York, 1976). The female carries the egg sac on her back until the spiderlings hatch, and then something interesting happens. The spiderlings crawl on to the mother's back where the immature S. mccooki recieve a ride from their mother until the young ones have developed enough and are ready to disperse throughout the enviornment. During the wintertime the spiderlings are considered immature (Lowrie, 2013) and when springtime comes and May arrives, the S. mccooki begin to mature and start looking for a mate. Mating tends to occur during the months of May through June when seasonal climate conditions are ideal.  An adult S. mccooki tends to hunt during the spring season into early fall and then instead of hibernating they become torpid, which means to become mentally or physically inactive (Merriam-Webster, 2013). This whole life cycle described happens only twice in the S. mccooki's lifetime, because the average life span of the spider is two years.

                                    Consent given by: Peter J. Bryant, University of California, Irvine

To learn more about the Adaptations of this spider click HERE