Meet a few of my Texas gals


This morning I set up some housing for a few of my new Texas imports, moving them out of their cramped vials and into big roomy spaces with cardboard frames. As usual, they were a bit frantic and were scurrying all over the place at first — I found the easiest way to shift them was to let them come out onto my hand, and then hold them gently over their new digs, and often they’d just drop a dragline and rappel down into their new home, and if they didn’t, a gentle nudge with a paintbrush would send them on their way.

They’re still a little bit stressed. After running around in circles for a bit, they found a comfy corner of the frame and just hunkered down and refused to move further. I left them a few flies and then took some photos before leaving them alone to settle in. I assume they’ll saturate the space with webbing and then hang somewhere comfortable, but that’ll take a few days.

Here are a few photos of them sullenly occupying a corner. They are all Steatoda triangulosa.

Guadalupe:

Jacinta:

Lantana:

Selena:

There’s a fair amount of variation in the density of the pigmentation, and also in the shape of the lighter-colored triangles. Compare Jacinta, with her smaller, tighter pattern and mottled pigment, to Lantana, where triangles have expanded and are bleeding together. This is the kind of variation I’m looking for!

Now I just have to get them to make babies. I’ve also got a half dozen younger, smaller S. triangulosa I’ll move once they’ve grown a bit more.

Comments

  1. says

    I would like to examine the long-form birth certificates for these immigrants from the Republic of Texas. Please also ensure that they speak good Midwestern American English and are not a charge upon the state (no public assistance of any kind).

    (Only slightly sarcastic. “Slightly” by comparison to my usual demeanor.)

  2. erichoug says

    Texas has some really interesting spiders. The spiny orb weaver is common around Houston and comes in a variety of colors.

    AS are the golden silk orb weaver. Those ones can get really big. The largest one I ever saw was sitting in the middle of it’s web off a small bit of water behind Addicks Dam. It could have put a leg on each of the fingers of my outspread hand. And I have big paws.

    I saw one in Bear creek park that was sitting in the middle of it’s web on a woven mat. I couldn’t figure out why it would sit in such a visible spot. But, when I got a bit closer, it vibrated the mat and for all the world looked like it disappeared.

    I’ve seen clumps of daddy long legs that were bigger than my chest. And all sorts of
    weirdness. Even saw a black widow one time. Never saw a brown recluse though.

    Houston has a lot of spiders.

  3. A. Noyd says

    erichoug (#2)

    AS are the golden silk orb weaver. Those ones can get really big.

    Those are flourishing all over Japan right now. Their webs structures are really interesting. They have at least two layers and one layer seems to act as a larder to store kills while the other is the spider’s home base.

  4. blf says

    What is the scale here?

    It’s Texas, so they must be YUGE!
    Probably minuscule compared to the Ozland spiders, and almost certainly less deadly.

  5. says

    I know PZ said that he’s been using cardboard soda case frames, but it’s still hard to get an idea of the size of these.

    PZ, is this the sort of detail you’re looking for? I could probably do a little bit better by using a tripod and maybe opening the lens a stop or two to get more light to the dark parts. Messing around with the levels, it seems the black portions are saturated. I’ve also got the flash on minimum output, so maybe turn that up a bit and move the saturation more to the whites instead of blacks.

    https://flic.kr/p/2hGerx8

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