Posts Tagged ‘Spiders’

Mommy long-legs 3

June 17, 2012

Sunday

I checked on things before going to bed last night. Everything seemed quiet. I just hope the eggs don’t all hatch overnight, so I won’t have a chance to see the excitement.

The first thing when I got up this morning was to go check again. Yep, we now have a ball of hatchlings, not a ball of eggs.

Notice that there are still several unhatched eggs in these pictures.

As to the babies, notice that the abdomens are pigmented, while the heads and legs are transparent. We also see tiny eye dots.

Actually, this is true to a certain extent of the adult spider as well. Jacky remarks that we can see mommy’s brain, and it may well be true.

I ate breakfast and checked in again half an hour later. I don’t see any unhatched eggs in the foto below.

Daddy has disappeared, intimidated by mommy’s ferocity. We know about ferocious females!

<Time passes>

I went out for a hike, got back early in the afternoon.

In prior years, mommy held onto a fluff ball for two or three days, comprising the husks of dead babies, presumably eaten by their siblings. Today, I don’t see a fluff ball, and mommy is free and clear.

The youngsters are strewn around. The smart ones stay clear of their siblings.

Every year, I make an effort to watch this drama, and most years I succeed. It is a terrific show!

Mommy long-legs 2

June 16, 2012

High drama!

I went into the garage to check on progress, and discovered mommy and daddy locked together, and not in an act of love! Daddy had clearly tried to raid the pantry, and mommy was going to have none of it!

The advantage of being an orb weaver is that the egg sac can be left behind, suspended from the ceiling, while mommy attacks daddy.

We can’t really see what daddy has in his pedipalps, but it’s clearly something.

We suspect he got at least an egg, if not an early hatchling.

Burp!

And mommy goes back to the egg cluster. When I checked half an hour later, daddy had retreated to 10 cm or so, but was clearly hoping for a chance at dessert.

Mommy long-legs 1

June 16, 2012

I didn’t notice her until yesterday, a mommy long-legs with an egg ball, hanging from the garage ceiling.

I believe the swirls on the eggs are the legs of the developing spiderlings, showing through the semi-transparent membrane. They look to be just about ready to hatch.

In fact, the little dark spots on one or two of the eggs might even be the eyes of the spiderlings.

Just for grins, notice that she has at least eight eyes, and possibly more.

Not far away, another spider. Probably male, possibly the biological father of the egg mass. Paternity is not his focus; he’s interested in lunch.

I nudged him a little further away, but I’m not in the bodyguard business. Will he succeed in getting some of the little ones?

Watch this space!

Easter, and we’re godparents!

April 24, 2011

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?