Behold! Light box Mk II!

Last week, Ade & I “built” (I use the word loosely) a space cocoon out of aluminum foil to control the illumination of our experimental spiders. It worked, clumsily, and it looked hideous.

Today, we took a Great Leap Forward and advanced the cause of Spider Containment and Illumination technology by building Light Box Mk II. It is beautiful and elegant.

We constructed it with frame of Space Age™ PVC pipe, covered with sheets of Cutting Edge™ Black FoamCore, the edges sealed with Advanced Technology™ adhesive backed metallic fabric…in other words, cardboard and duct tape. It looks damned fine, though. We’ve got a spider in a cage beneath a NoIR camera in there, and Ade is caught in the act of activating our time-lapse software on the Raspberry Pi so we can quantify it’s behavior night and day. Our sole obstacle to doing Great Science is now the spider: our Mk I may have been clumsy, but it did work, and unfortunately this particular spider cowered out of sight* almost the whole time the computer eye in the sky was staring down at her. We’re doing another trial run now.

Another bonus is that we made the box fairly roomy, and we could eventually put 3 or 4 spiders in separate cages in there. We only have the one camera right now, though, so that will have to wait.

*Of course, a spider refusing to behave is still data in a behavioral observation, so that was fine.


  1. azpaul3 says

    You have too much fun.

    a spider refusing to behave is still data in a behavioral observation

    Duh. But why the hiding? Doesn’t like the environment presented of just being ornery or …

    Do spiders do ornery?

  2. weylguy says

    “Spider Containment” had me in stitches. What, no proton beams necessary to capture the beasts?

  3. Kevin Karplus says

    Are the spiders able to see the IR lights? What is the spectral range for this species of spider? I know that many insects have opsins for vision well into the UV, but I don’t know anything about spider vision (other than that they have a shit-ton of compound eyes).

  4. EigenSprocketUK says

    Listen closely. your spiders are singing love songs to your light box.

    “When the Eye in the Sky
    Is a Raspberry Pi
    In FoamCoré

  5. says

    Spiders do have personalities. We’ve just started looking at spider behavior, though, so we don’t have specifics yet.

    Spiders might be able to get glimmerings of IR, they do have surprising sensory capabilities. It doesn’t matter, though: we are still exposing them to a specific light/dark cycle. They’d be smart enough to know that if all they see is the long wavelength glow it must be night time.