I’ve been eagerly checking on my colony every day for the last week or two, because I was expecting a happy event. Tonight, it happened! The babies hatched out!
I expect you all to follow the the tradition and tell me how beautiful my baby is.
Well? I’m waiting!
There were somewhere upward of 80 babies that emerged today. This meant I had to immediately separate all of them into individual vials, or in many cases, 2 or 3 babies in a vial (I’ll separate them further later). I was just sitting there frantically plucking up spiders with a paintbrush and popping them into new vials, which was busy enough, but then…oops. I dropped the egg sac. I’m a klutz.
What happened next is that swarms of tiny, pin-head sized spiders were scurrying off to escape, usually taking flight on a thread of silk. So for about 20 minutes I was sitting there with a paintbrush in one hand and watchmaker forceps in the other, squinting into the air of the lab, my hands darting out to snag a nearly invisible strand of gossamer silk with a nearly microscopic dot of a baby spider on it.
I know some of them got away (sorry, lab neighbors — they’re tiny and cute, don’t worry) because even as I was putting everything away to go home I kept finding more strands hanging from my microscope, or from my computer, or from me. Who knows? I might have some on me right now.
I’ve got lots of baby spiders stuffed into my incubator now. Tomorrow I’ll give each one a fly, and I’ll start tracking their development and health.
Note the “R”. I’m calling this my Runestone line, because the mother (in the individual vial) and the egg sac were collected at Kensington Runestone park.
Now for a little dread: I’ve got 6 more egg sacs in the lab. I’m gonna need a bigger incubator and more tube racks.