Spider update


First, the bad news. I now have no adult males, because Xena ate her consort, as I feared she would. I am beginning to suspect that she’s one of those radical feminist lesbian spiders who is going to kill every male she encounters. I don’t know if they successfully mated before the murder, and she hasn’t yet produced an egg case.

Also, one of my second generation spiders, a young female, abruptly died. Before she curled up and expired, though, she did produce an egg case, so maybe her line will live on.

The good news is that right now I am keeping an eye on three egg cases. The next few weeks will tell if can keep any spiderlings alive any more.

Comments

  1. cullster says

    Once upon a time as a graduate student with Dr. Thom Kaufman I worked with house spiders. We were trying to clone the homeotic genes and determine their expression patterns in various arthropod lineages. I tried so very hard to set up a colony and had the same problems. Sexual and fraternal cannibalism, abrupt deaths, and declining fertility were what I saw as well. As much as I would love to tell you the answer, I never got the colony to be self-sustaining. After a couple generations the lines would always fail.

    On the bright side, they were easier to work with than pillbugs!

  2. says

    You aren’t encouraging me.

    One of my plans for this summer is to survey and sample local spider populations…and one thing I’ll be doing is bringing in more wild-caught spiders, while also trying to maintain an inbred colony.

    You worked with Kaufman? Cool. One of my favorite books of all time is Embryos, Genes and Evolution, which he coauthored with Raff.

  3. komarov says

    First, the bad news. I now have no adult males, because Xena ate her consort, as I feared she would. I am beginning to suspect that she’s one of those radical feminist lesbian spiders who is going to kill every male she encounters.

    I for one respect her right to use effective birth control and admire her pragmatic approach to the matter. Good for you, Xena. Don’t let anyone talk you into having kids, especially not some bearded hu-man who clearly has his own agenda. (I trust you’ll pass on my message of solidarity to Xena, PZ, thanks very much)

  4. cullster says

    Yes worked with Thom, the gruff teddy bear (though he would swat me for saying that!), for 6 years and spoke with Rudy Raff many times (though, sadly, he only just passed away a few days ago). I learned a lot of great science back at Indiana University that has served me well.

    Regarding the spiders, I was never convinced that it was in-breeding as I could catch additional males pretty readily from different geographic regions. I worried it was something environmental or dietary but I couldn’t figure out what would be yummy and nutritious about a steady diet of unwanted fruit flies. I couldn’t rule out some kind of infectious agent either.

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