Happiness is a pocket full of maggots and spider eggs

Our compost bin is thriving! We found some new egg sacs inside it, like this one:

It’s strange. It’s orange. We suspect it might be Mimetus, the pirate spider, but time will tell. I took it into the lab and will have to wait for it to hatch out.
The other compost development is that it is full of squirmy busy maggots. I’m talking dense sheets of a multitude of swarming maggots. I scooped up some and brought them in to see if the spiders would eat them. They liked it! (The spiders, not the larvae.) This will be an alternate food source, at least over the summer. I think it’ll slow down a lot once the temperature drops below freezing.
In other news, I’ve been doing weekly measurements of the growth of my Steatoda triangulosa babies. They’re all (except one, sort of) growing well. Here’s a table of the mean dimensions of the young spiders.

I know, not exactly exciting, and I have to plod through more weeks of measurements. Note the big surge in length this week! That’s because they all molted on Day 22, and shedding that exoskeleton gave them more room to stretch.
I mentioned one spider was an exception. Spider #5 is looking a bit odd. Still growing, but suddenly their limbs and palps have gone pale…I’m hoping they’re not sick.


  1. blf says

    [The egg sack i]s strange. It’s orange. We suspect it might be Mimetus, the pirate spider, but time will tell.

    Presumably, the way to tell it’s Mimetus is to look for typical signs of piracy, such a plank for the bugs (well, other spiders) to walk, or every day being TalkVibrate Webs Like a Pirate Day.

  2. René says

    I’m hoping they’re not sick.

    Overdoing the wokeness WRT pronouns. You’re talking about ONE spider. That should be it’s.

  3. says

    They’re too small, I don’t have a sufficiently accurate scale. Also any manipulation of the animals sends them skittering away.

  4. Silentbob says

    @ 2 René

    “It’s” is a contraction of “it is”, doofus. There’s no possessive apostrophe on “it”.

  5. Tethys says

    Ach ja, das spinne flies fressen.

    But why not sie? Die spinne er feminine.
    Three genders is so perplexing!

  6. Silentbob says

    @ 10 René

    You’re right – I’m the doofus. Comment #3 made me think you were “correcting” “his” or “hers”. I apologize.

    Still curious though if you lecture owners of cats, dogs, horses; etc. on not calling non-humans “he”, “she” or “they”, or if you’re only a dick about spiders?

  7. says

    “Overdoing the wokeness WRT pronouns. You’re talking about ONE spider. That should be it’s.”

    You are an ignorant imbecile.

  8. Tethys says

    I thought that it was very persnickety to complain that PZ referred to the pale spider using they and they’re, rather than it. The “wokeness” accusation is simply asinine, as is the “Ever heard it use pronouns?” Lol, it is a pronoun. English doesn’t grammatically distinguish between living and inanimate, human animal or other critter.
    See those rocks? I think they’re pretty. Their crystals sparkle.
    I’ve never heard a spider say anything, but why would anyone get offended that the spider was referred to as they/ them? (Especially someone who knows another Germanic language where you must refer to the spider with she and her because it’s a feminine noun).
    Sorry, English only retains a few forms of the original 11 gendered pronouns, which originate from the words sjá and thessi, with overlap from therri.
    (That one, they, them)

    Blame the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons if you aren’t happy that English has they, them, their, there, and the contraction they’re.

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