Spider update (no spider photos)

I’m getting a little anxious — my spider family is in a quiet phase right now. I have 6 breeding pairs of adults (well, Gwyneth ate her consort after mating, so 5½, and maybe bred pairs is the better term). I’m down to one egg sac — again, from Gwyneth, who is a sick Goth freak because she knitted an ugly, sloppy sac with the dead corpses of her prey imbedded in it, but it does have developing embryos inside it. She also littered the floor with decapitated fly heads. Gwyneth scares me sometimes.

But otherwise, I’m just waiting for them to produce more. My goal is to have a steady reliable output of eggs, and these little hiatuses are nerve wracking, but also understandable, since the colony is so small yet.

I do have a lot of tiny little juveniles coming up, at least. They’re getting a little overwhelming — these are my spider-children, in these little vials I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics (they’re intended for storing and sorting beads, but I have perverted them to my own wicked ends.) Thirty vials, thirty hungry little babies.

I have to go in every couple of days and tend to them. Put one or two flies in each vial (I made a little fly-shaker out of an Eppendorf tube — it’s like a salt shaker, only when you shake it flies come out), give ’em a spritz of water from an atomizer, and agonize over their health and predatory instincts. As they get big enough, I move them to an adult-sized tube, and when I’m confident of their sexual maturity, I’ll pair them up.

But right now it’s a waiting game with placid little beasties (except for Gwyneth) quietly tending to their webs, nibbling on flies and crickets, making me fret over when they’re going to spawn again.

By the way, over half the vials I’m cultivating contain Gwyneth’s progeny — she’s a fecund little monster. I’ll be interested to see if her distinctive behaviors carry on into the next generation. I’m planning on doing some inbreeding of her offspring to see if I can get a brood of savage spider mothers.


  1. ardipithecus says

    Just in case you are planning to invade with your spider army, I want you to know that I have stiletto heels. They are the perfectweapon, worn or swung like a club, to take out the officers, while leaving the leaderless troops to wander aimlessly eating the bad bugs in my garden.

  2. komarov says

    Oh, I see you have sealed the vials with … foam. I’m sure the budding army has not tested the strength of their confinement, nor have they found they can break out any time they want or elected to bide their time until, with strength in numbers, they overwhelm you. Overwhelm us all. So everything is perfectly fine.

    Let me just check … ah, the Atlantic’s still where it’s supposed to be, good.

    Re: ardipithecus (#1):

    Precision weaponry is all very well, but surely prudence demands you keep something larger handy handy just in case? Boots of mass stomping may be called for before this is over.

  3. jrkrideau says

    Ah, no spider pictures.

    I found a spider in my kitchen this morning. Quite a cute little thing.

  4. WhiteHatLurker says

    I’m planning on doing some inbreeding of her offspring to see if I can get a brood of savage spider mothers.

    Just so you can have Incestuous Cannibals?

    Woah, rock band name. I got dibs on it. Lemme learn the saxophone and I’ll use it.

  5. PaulBC says

    Yikes. Isn’t this what Renfield did in Dracula? I caught this without any context, so I will assume there is a good scientific reason for it. If you start collecting birds, I may withdraw the benefit of the doubt.