Male tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi)
The dolomite glade is a community of plants and animals that is quite characteristic of the Ozarks, and well represented at Shaw Nature Reserve. These are grassy, flowery openings occurring within upland woods, on outcrops of dolomitic rocks on south- and west-facing slopes. The combination of shallow soil and direction of slope produces a hot, often extremely dry environment with thin, rocky soil which will not support the rapid growth of trees. However, after nearly a century of fire suppression, eastern redcedar did make significant inroads into Shaw Nature Reserve glades. Glades are dominated by herbaceous flora, including breathtakingly beautiful wildflowers. They have been compared to deserts, but are actually much more similar ecologically to drier versions of the tallgrass prairie, with many species or closely related species pairs in common. Birdsfoot violet, Indian paintbrush, Missouri evening primrose, the rare Fremont's leather flower, lance-leaf tickseed and pale purple coneflower bloom in waves of color from April to early July. The plains scorpion and tarantula spider are both found in the warm, dry conditions of the glades.