Sad day in the lab

With great sorrow, I must report the passing of a member of the lab family. This beautiful golden spider my wife caught in Colorado in January of 2020 is no more. She was the wrong species, Steatoda triangulosa, for the work I’m trying to do, but I kept her around because she was lovely and vivacious, with her golden color and zig-zag stripes, and she was always eager to kill anything I put in her cage. She’s so pretty her picture is my cell phone screen.

I’d noticed she was a bit lethargic lately, and wouldn’t respond to flies in her web. Yesterday, she was slumped low in her cobweb — they usually favor a high position — and was only feebly responsive to a gentle touch. Today, I found her corpse lying on the floor, legs curled inward.

It’d been a year and a quarter since she was caught as a fully grown adult, so she may have been a year and a half, possibly even just shy of two years old. That’s a long, long life for these little spiders.


  1. cjcolucci says

    What is the normal lifespan of a spider?
    My curiosity about animal lifespans is increased because I have just seen a pair of blue jays in my yard. I assume it is not the same pair that frequented the yard 20 years ago, even though they look the same, but I’m not sure.

  2. Larry says

    At least she had a good life. Now, she’s running around in spider heaven, hooking up with male spiders, having spider sex, and, then, eating them.

  3. davidc1 says

    I will forgo my usual thing about squishing spiders ,i am touched by your sadness at her passing .
    @5 On the interweb recently ,i saw something about female Octopi ,if a male is pestering her and she has the
    Octopussy version of an headache ,she will take her back to her place ,and then eat him .
    Don’t know if it is true or not.

  4. says

    These small spiders are particularly sensitive to seasonal changes, so in places with extreme variation in temperatures over the course of a year, most will live less than a year.

  5. bcw bcw says

    No autopsy? Maybe it was someone she ate. To what extent do spiders have immune systems?
    Flies that don’t meet spiders usually die from fungus infections in their air-tubes.

  6. A. Feesh says

    She was a pretty girl. I’m one of those people who let spiders outside. A couple years ago there was a spider who was living in between my window and the storm window. She was so fun to watch, I’ve always hoped another would take up residence, but no luck.