My large collection of baby spiders is much smaller now. This morning, I went through the whole collection, scrutinizing them carefully for health, and tallied up the end result of my breeding experiments. Then I gave everyone a last meal in their baby vials, because tomorrow I rip up their natal cobwebs and transfer each to new, clean, larger containers so I can raise them to full adulthood.
It was a grim morning. There’s been a steady die-off of spiders over the last two months, often occurring at molting — they sometimes seem to get stuck, and that’s the end of that. I had three separate lines of spiderlings: 1) The R (for Runestone) line collected from a female at Runestone park, well off the beaten track; 2) The H (for Horticulure) line collected at an outdoor building at the local Horticulture garden; and 3) The M (for Myers) line collected right here in my garage at home. There was considerable variation in mortality.
R line: 95% (!) ☠
H line: 75% ☠
M line: 50% ☠
Maybe I’m just terrible at spider husbandry. I don’t have a good feel for how much normal juvenile death I ought to expect. It’s possibly interesting that the line collected from an indoor spider thrived best in the lab, while the ones found in a rather ‘wilder’ environment did worst.
Today wasn’t great, but the survivors all look fat and handsome and healthy, and tomorrow they get moved to their new roomier abodes, and I’ll also take photos of them. I’ll probably flood my Instagram account with pictures of my pretty young spider children, so watch out for that.