All of my schemes musically exposed

How did these guys figure out my plan way back in 2017? I’d only just started exploring the arachnid option back then!

Humankind: I have the solution
To your mess of crime, scandals and pollution
I have done the work
Hey relax, there will be no delay
All my little friends are on the way

Wrap tycoons,
Fatcats, politicians, inside silk cocoons,
Drain them of their vital juices
Raise the flag! Tyrantula tenure has begun
We won’t be around when it is done

The time is now—
I’m gonna let my hungry spiders out,
Because they are the only ones who have the guts
To find and purge the world of all its human sin
They will envenomate our failures!

We can spin a web of hope
Here in my Arachnotopia
Nothing is beyond the scope
Of the grand Arachnotopia

We can spin a web of hope
Here in my Arachnotopia
Nothing is beyond the scope
Of the grand Arachnotopia

Listen to the misanthropes—
Start anew, Arachnotopia!

(You’re gonna get it!)

#Arachtober: The #Spider Swarm!

My colleague, Chris Atkinson, told me yesterday that he’d been seeing a lot of spiders in his compost heap. “Interesting,” I thought. Then he sent me this photo:

WHOA. Look at all those spiders.

So I stopped by this morning (how could I not?), and the photo doesn’t do it justice. It is spider paradise. It’s a spider commune. There are all kinds of bugs living in the compost, and all over above them is a dense communal spider web, packed with spiders. I’d suspected it from the first picture, but I stuck my face down there and confirmed it — Steatoda borealis, the Northern Combfoot, which I’ve occasionally found while prowling about town, but this was the Mother Lode. I got a few closeups of one of their number in their web.

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Baby #Spider

One day old. This was a tough photo to take — the little spiderlings respond to any touch with frantic escape behavior and end up running all over the place, and they refuse to pose nicely for a picture.

I note that even shortly after emergence they have the banded legs and scattering of dark abdominal pigment.

Happy #Arachtober! Or is it?

That’s right, #Arachtober is a thing with swarms of people posting photos of their fave spiders this month. It doesn’t seem quite right to me, because October is a sad month for spiders in Minnesota — I’m seeing them fading away as the weather cools and their prey declines and we approach the terrible frost and frigid winter. Here’s Jenny By-The-Front-Door, for instance.

I’ve been checking on her every day. She’s not very active; she’s huddled in her nest cobbled out of dead leaves and debris, and I can see her legs peeking out, and if I poke at the nest with my finger, she’ll slowly wave at me, but she’s nowhere near as busy as the spiders are in the warm summer months. I expect that one of these days I’ll give her a little poke and she won’t respond. She’ll either be in diapause or dead.

I still have lots of thriving spiders in the climate controlled environment of my lab, at least!