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.