Some years ago, I watched a daddy long-legs nurture an egg ball until it hatched out. Well, really a mommy long-legs, I suppose. In any event, I have always watched for an opportunity to repeat the experience. This time, it was even better, because my little eight-legged friend set up shop in the kitchen, rather than the garage. Lower ceiling, easier to keep an eye on her.
The above picture was taken on April 3. (By the way, you can see a high-resolution version by clicking the image.) Notice that the eggs are essentially featureless balls. Observe also that she is pretty fat and healthy.
I was taking pictures of her every day or so, but it was clearly causing her distress, so I settled for keeping an eye on things, hoping to be there during the hatching out.
Saturday, April 23. The eggs are starting to hatch. The ball is coming apart!
Things to notice in this picture: the hatchling hidden by mom’s leg, just left of center at the top. The texture, the swirls in the eggs that haven’t hatched yet. These are the legs of the youngsters, wrapped around to fit inside the egg, but visible through its membrane.
Another shot, showing the precocious youngster at the upper right. You could say that mom has a handful, except that she has no hands. Would it be properly idiomatic to say that she has a pedipalp-ful?
Easter Sunday, April 24. When we went down for breakfast, this (above) is what we found: instead of an egg ball, a cloud of hatchlings. Congratulations, Ms Longlegs!
Mom still has some kind of fluffball in her pedipalps, but it’s only detritus from the eggs. Look at all those little guys!
I asked Jacky to guesstimate the size of the egg ball. She guessed fifty eggs. In one of the pictures, I did a quick count and got forty-five little guys. Good estimate!
The eleven-year old boy in me thinks this is fantastic!
Is it my imagination, or does she not look quite as fat and healthy as she did three weeks ago, before going on her fast?