Wildlife Wednesdays: Arctic and the Arachnids | weatherology°
By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Sep 2nd 2020

Wildlife Wednesdays: Arctic and the Arachnids

A new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that there has been quite a baby boom of wolf spiders in the Arctic, due to warmer temperatures. The study mentions that "these spiders have produced two clutches of offspring, double the usual amount." As we all know, the Arctic has been getting warmer over the past few decades, but this is the first time in which the higher temps are correlated with the reproductive rate of invertebrates. 

The study team determined these results by following and capturing the wolf spiders each season. They then counted the number of eggs in their sacs (of these captured wolf spiders) and compared them. It was determined that spiders captured in the short Arctic summer were carrying around two egg sacs, instead of one. This is a common behavior in wolf spiders, whom live in the warmer climate. The study further mentions that this has never been seen before in the Arctic.

Of note, the wolf spider is pretty common, especially in the Arctic tundra. The concern with researchers is that if a regular baby boom of spiders keeps occurring, it could be disastrous for their prey species. "We now have the longest time series of spiders collected in the Arctic. The large amount of data allows us to show how small animals in the Arctic change their life history in response to climate change," said Toke T. Høye, from the Arctic Research Centre and Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University. "These changes in the life history have not been seen earlier and evidence suggests that the phenomenon plays an important role for Arctic insects and spiders. We can now ascertain that changes in the reproduction of species are an important factor to include when we try to understand how Arctic ecosystems react to the rising temperatures on the planet,” Høye also mentions.

Spider
Baby boom of wolf spiders in Arctic, due to warming temperatures over time.
Arctic
The Arctic has steadily been warming over the past decades.