The clever spider and its masterful artifice

It’s OK if you skip around. This video of Argiope aurantia making an egg sac is over 8 hours long.

It’s very cool, though. It’s an impressive feat of spider engineering, and the mama spider invests a lot of effort into building that sac and filling it with many hundreds of eggs. My spiders build quicker, simpler sacs, and though I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to catch them in the act — it also doesn’t help that they seem to construct them in the middle of the night.

It also makes me anxious. I’m quarantined — hopefully for only a few days — so I can’t go into the lab to feed the colony, and they’re probably getting hungry. It’s nothing to panic over yet, since spiders are adapted for sporadic prey capture, but if I get bad news on my COVID test, I’m going to have to do something. My idea is to make one visit to the lab at some late hour and bring all the spiders to my house for prolonged care. It’s a lovely home decor idea as well, don’t you think?

I’d much prefer to get positive news in the next day or two so I can get back in the lab without cluttering up my house with more spiders, though.


  1. says

    I have not yet discussed this plan with my wife, however.

    She might be taking off for a while to spend some time in granddaughter care, though, so she may not care, but alternatively, she might be annoyed that I would replace her with 400 spiders.

  2. larrylyons says

    Why not do what most profs do? You have a few lab assistants, have them come in and feed the things. On depending on the assistant, feed him or her to the spiders… (joking of course)

  3. magistramarla says

    My Colorado daughter sent me a screen shot of her facebook page, which I wish that I could post here. PZ would love it. She has a spider friend living in her office at work. The spider often comes down on a thread to stare admiringly at her computer monitor, then scurries back up to her web. Today, the spider came all the way down to the desk top and wandered around among the papers there. That’s when daughter got a great picture.
    My daughter’s boyfriend and some other friends were freaking out on her facebook page.
    We have taught her well.

  4. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    I’ve had two, count them, two rust red Neoscona crucifera take up residence here this last summer. One on the front porch. Which was an unfortunate choice of location as I get regular deliveries for groceries and whatnot. Despite signage and yellow tape people still destroyed the webbing now and then. No real harm done though, it was rebuilt that night.

    Haven’t seen them in several days though. A couple pictures HERE

  5. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    Oh yeah about the covid test. Just try and think positive. Uh, no wait… Have you tried turning your consciousness off an on again? Maybe putting yourself in rice? I’m not very good at this solace thing. Here’s to hoping you have a new found sensitivity to seasonal allergies. In any other year that’d sound odd.