Pacing about in the waiting room

I was sure today would be the day. As soon as I got out of PT, I rushed over to the lab, confident that finally my Steatoda triangulosa spiderlings would be emerging. Yesterday, I saw that they were getting dark hairs on their legs, although their bodies remain pale, and were making occasional feeble twitches, so I figured they’d be getting on with it shortly.

No such luck. The legs are getting darker, and the movements are much more robust. They’re packed tightly into the egg sac, so when you see one wiggle, there’s a wave of activity all across the sac. Any time now, he says again, as he has for the last several days.

Part of the reason for my eagerness is that I’m used to Parasteatoda — the spiderlings of that species emerge after less than 10 days, while these S. trangulosa eggs/embryos have been sitting there developing for 26 days so far. And P. tepidariorum will hatch out as many as a 100 babies at onces, while this species’ egg sacs will produce maybe 20 spiderlings. No wonder P. tep is the popular model system!

It makes me wonder how they can compete. P. tep is ubiquitous in houses; S. tri I find in houses, but also in ‘wilder’ environments. Maybe they’re simply being outcompeted for the most stable environment, or maybe S. tri spiderlings are better adapted, somehow, for more marginal spaces. I don’t know. I’m going to have to hatch out some P. tep and have them wrestle.

I’m also going to have to get some S. borealis egg sacs for comparison, but they’re turning out to be harder to breed in the lab.

I’m recording some day-by-day videos, and when the whole batch finally pops out, I’ll compile them all together and post them on YouTube…but I’ll be releasing them to my Patreon first.