Checked on my collection of S. triangulosa egg sacs this morning. The one I’ve been waiting on for 27 days hasn’t yet opened up, but it looks distinctly different — it’s a black mass with little hairy black legs poking up, surrounded by cottony fluff. The spiderlings are making me wait longer. I was tempted to pull out my forceps and extract them by force, but I’m waiting to see what the normal developmental time at 28°C might be, so no shortcuts allowed. Any day now, as I’ve been saying for a week.
Then I checked on their momma. I’ve moved her into a separate, larger container now, and the other day I fed her a big juicy mealworm…which immediately thrashed it’s way out of the web and fell to the container floor. The web was pretty much shredded at that time, and I couldn’t stick the worm into it, so I left it there and figured I’d move it today, when the web was repaired. Usually, Parasteatoda ignores food that doesn’t land in a web, and I figured she’d be the same. They’re rather passive predators.
I was wrong! S. tri is willing to get down and dirty, had dived in snared the mealworm, and then hoisted it about 10cm up. It was dead, dangling, with a black ring in the segment that the spider had bitten and sucked out its juices.
Good work, mom. Then I sought out the spider, who was now nearly spherical again. I’ll spare the arachnophobes that image.
Then, to my surprise, she had spent last night laying another egg sac!
That’s 5 in 4 weeks. I’d wondered how they kept their population up compared to P. tep, since their egg sacs hold a fifth the number of spiderlings. There’s the answer: they make it up in volume.
Well as she is giving you lots of egg sacs you do have lots of possibilities for testing the ‘best’ hatching conditions. Very considerate of her.
“Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s best Christian”
Please don’t smoke too many cigarettes while pacing the hospital floor outside the maternity ward waiting for the good news.
I wonder if she places them in the same location if given a choice, or if she generally spreads it around.