It’s like a juice box


Yesterday was not a good day. I had way too much on my calendar and worked late, and didn’t get around to my spiders until 5pm…and then, it was a lot of scut work, since their containers were getting filthy with insect corpses, and I had to move everyone to new, clean boxes. Then I discovered that two of my precious males had died! Males really are the weak link. There’d been a wave of moltings throughout the colony, and sometimes they just don’t succeed. I expected one to fail — he was asymmetrical, with one excessively long forelimb, and he’d probably messed up the previous molt — and yeah, sadly, he didn’t make it this time.

Whenever I move them, the spiders all go frantic with activity. The new space is barren, have to put up new webs everywhere! So I threw them each a couple of flies and left them to their business, and this morning they’re all lounging in their silk hammocks, webbing everywhere, and the flies are all trussed up. They are meticulous in their work.

So here’s one I found having a delicious breakfast. I had to stack a few images to get everything in view, so if there’s some blurriness, it’s because she was practically vibrating with happiness (I presume).

One curious thing I’ve noticed that they almost always go straight for the head in their feeding — this one is jaws-deep in an eyeball. I wonder if fly brains are particularly delicious? Of if maybe they’re just attracted to the color? Or maybe ommatidia are a more fragile point of entry than other parts of the cuticle, so it’s easier to punch in there and slurp out the contents.

Comments

  1. johnniefurious says

    Is going straight for the head maybe about a “just in case” way to ensure a quicker death? Or is this how the spiders act long after the fly would be dead already?

  2. birgerjohansson says

    I recall another organism that went straight for the head (coughXenomorphcough).

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    I wonder if fly brains are particularly delicious?

    Such a tiny little morsel, even at arachnidean scale.

    How many would you have to accumulate for a human to have any chance of tasting them?

  4. publicola says

    True, males are the weak point. As Sgt. Lennie Briscoe once said on Law and Order, “If they invent a machine to open jars and find a substitute for sperm, we’re [men] out of a job”.

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