A stiff shot of spiders

It’s the first day of the semester: first class, first lab, and coincidentally, first day of interviewing candidates for a chemistry position. It all begins at 8:30 this morning, and doesn’t stop until May.

I’m going to need some hard spider videos to get my day started.

Don’t be fooled by the gentle music accompanying this video of a spider molting. This is dangerous business.

The molt begins with the spider popping her top, pulling herself out of the cockpit, and then extracting her legs. Most of the spider deaths in my lab occur during this process. The majority carry the maneuver out perfectly, but sometimes things go awry and you get a warped, crippled spider that isn’t long for the world. I worry about molting.

One thing I don’t have to worry about is someone coming along and eating my babies.

I am forced to admire her technique. Notice how she pinches the prosoma, immobilizing the chelicerae, and bites right behind them and discards the fangs. Smart move. Just popping a big tarantula in your mouth would probably get you some nasty tongue and cheek lacerations.

Also, lots of chili sauce to cover up the taste of spider.

OK, I’m ready. I can face whatever the university confronts me with now.


  1. Doc Bill says

    I was OK with spiders until I saw the SciFi film “Tarantula” in 1960. After that, nope to infinity!

    That said, my house in Oklahoma was “full” of brown recluse spiders, but we got along quite well. It’s the “recluse” part, I guess. I never kilt one of them, and they didn’t kilt one of us!

  2. silvrhalide says

    @1 Oh hell no. I like spiders for the most part but the recluses always get the shoe… I had two friends suffer from brown recluse bites, they are not fun and really can be life threatening. Both cases, it was “first cold day of winter, pull out a hat, put on head, recluse hiding in hat, bites person”. One of them was badly bitten enough to need the hyperbaric chamber treatment and took months to recover.

    Can’t you introduce a population of wolf spiders or something to outcompete the brown recluses? Honestly, that would have been my go-to move. Well, that and a policy of “every brown recluse spotted gets the shoe”.