We’re currently isolating all freshly laid egg sacs and tagging them with the date so that we know exactly how old the embryos are. This week I started scanning all the adult containers and setting aside those who had produced an egg sac.
It started out well: one on Sunday, one on Tuesday, one on Thursday, and I’m thinking this is perfect — a fresh batch of 30+ embryos every other day is what we can handle easily. Then then this morning, Friday, I come in and…5 new egg sacs for 21 April.
Then I realize…Thursday is quarter taps night at the Met Lounge downtown. Have they been sneaking out for a wild party night, and then coming back to the lab all primed for reproduction? That’s the only rational explanation.
I could be concerned that I’m going to be in another situation where the lab is drowning in more spiders than we know what to do with, but we’re about to switch paradigms a little bit. Next week we start plunking lots of embryos into fixative, then the week after we start doing embryo dissections and staining with propidium iodide. None of these spiders are going to live to adulthood. Sorry.
What are you going to be looking for in the embryos?
PZ Myers says
We’re going to anchor the developmental stages in this species to those of Parasteatoda, so we can more easily compare their embryonic development.
I sorta get what you said. At some point, I would like to read or hear you talk about this project in relation to your own curiosity, the current state of arachnid research, and how a scientist with modest resources chooses a project that can nonetheless expand science.
How high does your spider tower need to be before it’s time for an intervention? (Asking for a friend.)