Yesterday, one Parasteatoda egg sac popped and sent out a cloud of baby spiders I was struggling to corral. Today, another hatch!

I’m going to be here in the lab for a while. I have to separate these out into individual vials and feed each of yesterday’s spiders. It’s hard work being the Mother of All Spiders. I hope I’ve got enough flies.

Sorted, sorta.

I estimate there are about 160 spiders in all those tubes. I couldn’t possibly put single individuals in each, I don’t have enough space — so there are two or three in each, with 8 or so in the larger cube-shaped containers. I found an efficient way to move them. I’d just hold the container with the whole clutch at a slight vertical angle, and the babies would make their way to the edge and leap off, rappelling downwards, and I’d lower them on their threads into a tube and brush the silk against the lip, and then cut them off with a sponge. It worked well enough that I had no accidents that I noticed, which in part accounts for the larger numbers here over the previous day’s catch.

These, by the way, are called the H line because I caught the mother and egg sac at the Horticulture Display Garden. Mom is fine, she’s in one of the containers, too.

Both of these clutches are from wild-caught spiders found outdoors, which troubles me a bit. I’ve definitely got to get at least one batch from indoor spiders — I’ve got some egg sacs like that right now, but I’ve had a very low success rate from their ilk. Maybe country spiders are more fecund than city spiders?


  1. Artor says

    Somebody has been hatching in my neighborhood lately. The place is swarming with tiny golden orb-weavers, making their webs everywhere. I can’t walk to my car without getting webbed in the face half a dozen times. There’s a neat, perfect orb woven across my rear-view mirror, and thick draglines festooned from the radio antenna. As the season progresses, their numbers will wane as they are devoured by birds and each other. Later in the fall there will only be a few remaining, but they will be giants almost the size of my thumb, but not quite ready to turn the tables on any birds.