Yesterday, Mary startled a jumping spider which had been hiding under a mysterious small object. That object was also attached to the wall of our house by strands of spider silk. Is it an egg sac? I put it under the microscope, and no, it is not.
It is something tiny, about 2mm long, and botanical. I know nothing of botany. It is not a spider thing, which is enough for me.
While I was in the lab anyway, I tended to the spiders, who are all doing fine. Here’s one just relaxing in a spider-like way.
You can just see her dorsal-most eye peeking up between the thicket of legs to make sure I was up to no good. I also noticed that the seam on the dorsal midline of her abdomen was pulsing, something I’ve seen before.
It’s so easy to see and record and measure that I’m thinking this might be the start of an interesting student project — I’ve got a microscope stage warmer, we have ice, I have a laser temperature probe. It might be worth recording heart rate vs. temperature, especially since that’s a significant environmental factor around here. I’ve monitored spiders outdoors, and they start dying off if the ambient temperature gets down around -4°C, which corresponds to the temperature when some species go into dormancy. I may have to try it, if ever we get students working in the research labs again.
By the way, this particular spider may have molted just yesterday.