The Spider Times

This is my usual weekly mailing to students who expressed an interest in spider research.

Good morning, spider-team. Here’s this week’s mission.

1. Monday at noon is feeding time! Last week we started giving them crickets, in addition to wingless fruit flies, and they gobbled them up. We’re trying to fatten up the ladies to get them to start laying eggs, and I think they’re close — I’m hoping to see egg sacs in their spacious new cages soon.

2. We have some babies! A Steatoda triangulosa that we caught over two weeks ago was already pregnant, and laid a fluffy white egg sac for us. It hatched out over the weekend, and we’ve got a small brood of baby spiderlings (see below). We’ll be separating these out into small vials today. This isn’t the species I’d planned on working on, but this will be good practice for future Parasteatoda tepidariorum spiderlings.

3. There will be another spider-feeding on Thursday at noon. They are quite avid little killing machines.

4. Also on Thursday afternoon, I depart for Minneapolis and Convergence, where I’ll be sitting on a couple of science panels. I’ll be away all weekend.

5. Next week, beginning on the 8th, Phase II of our Stevens County Spider Survey begins. We have an ever-growing list of sites to screen, and I’m also adding a few additional steps to our protocol, so all volunteers will be appreciated. We’ll be going out every day, starting at around 10, for the entire week.

6. My offer to take you out for a night at the movies still stands. I’ll be at the Morris Theater at 7pm on Wednesday for Spider-Man: Far From Home. Let me know if you’re interested — we can also pick apart the science afterwards.