Spider status (no photos)


I spent a good chunk of my morning fussing over my spider colony, tidying up their vials and making sure they all had food (crickets for the larger ones, wingless fruit flies for the little guys.) I currently have 10 total adults, 8 females and 2 males, and a countless swarm of spiderlings that I’m gradually sorting out into individual dishes.

The current roster:

Females:

  • Gwyneth
  • Cathy
  • Diane
  • Amanda
  • Emma
  • Xena
  • Sara
  • Larry

The ones in blue have had a successful hatching, and are currently sharing their vial with some unknown number of babies. I’m slowly working on separating them.

The ones in red have an egg sac.

This is promising — they seem to be awesomely fecund. I’m going to have to wait on supplies before I can start doing mad science on the embryos, though. For now I’ll be content with just building up the colony and figuring out what I’m doing.

Uh, about Larry…Larry’s on the small side, and I initially only got a rough look at their morphology with a hand lens, and just today I got a good look under the scope. Larry’s a girl. Come on, people, I’m new at this — I’ll keep practicing at recognizing their sexes.

Males:

  • Barney
  • Harry
  • Fred (deceased)

Fewer males. I don’t know whether it’s due to high mortality upon encountering females, or if it’s just sampling bias. They are smaller and harder to spot.

These are all wild caught adults, found in our garage and sun porch. Credit where credit is due: Mary found them all, and lately she’s been catching them herself. True story: I was just reading papers, and had put together a few vials and things to begin the process of spider catching, when she told me there was a lovely spider on the door of the sun room, and asked was it the right species? And of course it was, so I clumsily scooped up Amanda and took her to the lab. And now Mary has the search image for these spiders locked into her brain, and she prowls around and spots them with her eagle eyes, and I haven’t had to do a lick of work.

Comments

  1. quatguy says

    I am just curious about your naming convention? Picking random names out of a hat or is there a naming method to your madness?

  2. says

    The most important question is, will you write a self help book à la “6 legs and 8 eyes for life” in which you teach us spider wisdom?

  3. neptis says

    Not sure if that applies to this species, but for a lot of spiders, the females have a much longer lifespan than the males, even without any mating incidents. That could be a factor for much more females as well.

  4. weylguy says

    You heartless bastard1 I’ll bet anything you ripped the wings off those cute defenseless fruit flies, didn’t you? Then your evil spider bastion injected them with that liquidizing poison of theirs, and literally sucked the life out of their little bodies. I’ll be voting for Trump again.

  5. miramis says

    Dear Dr Myers,
    I see gender in human beings as a very fluid and complicated thing. You should rename Larry to Larissa (a common female name in my neck of the woods). But maybe Larry does not want to be a Larissa? She is the only one without egg sack or babies. Because of your first assessment and she was never pared with a male? Is it possible that arachnids are not sure of their gender?

  6. Rich Woods says

    and a countless swarm of spiderlings that I’m gradually sorting out into individual dishes.

    Spiderling ragout
    Sweet and sour spiderling
    Spiderling, egg and chips
    Spiderling surprise (What’s the surprise? It contains spiderlings.)

    And I’ll just leave this here.

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