The trap door spider is indeed a most interesting and clever arachnid. Instead of building a traditional web, it builds a unique sort of trap with a door. Using a combination of dirt and web, these spiders create a camouflaged door to their home. Around the door, they lay spun threads which create the first half of the trap. Once an insect is entangled in the threads, the spider lifts the door of his home and attacks his prey.
This trap door spider drawing shows a spider coming out of his lair along with a spider full exposed. The description provided in the Scientific American identified this as being a trap door spider from the island of Jamaica. I have seen trap door spiders here in the United States and they were quite small but it was so much fun watching them pop in and out of their burrow.
The spider drawing and a number of other interesting things were from the December 14, 1878, issue.
This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.