Monday, September 14, 2009

Five dozen babies

Baby spiders, that is. And aren't they cute?

Click on the photo to see them full-size. One has a happy face on his belly.

The babies are the first progeny of "Little Momma", an American house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum. She lives in a corner beside my patio door, and has another batch on the way.

Little Momma, with bag of babies and lunch.

She is the granddaughter of Fat Momma, who raised a brood a few feet overhead in 2007. I wrote at length about her then, and want to review a few of the questions raised back then.

Here's the series: Parts I - Spider Watching, II - Fresh laid eggs!, III - Taking Candy from a Baby, IV - We Haz Babies!, V - Baby Pictures, VI - Post-coital bliss, sort of, and finally, Pleased to Meetcha!

Some of the questions I was asking then were, what happens to the males? And, how long does incubation take? Will the egg cases survive over the winter?
  • Fat Momma ate at least one of her mates. Little Momma has had three that I have seen. I caught her eating one.
  • Fat Momma's first two egg cases and one of another spider took 25, 27 and 33 days. I first saw LM's eggs exactly one month before they hatched. So 31 -32 days.
  • And Fat Momma's final egg case hatched the next March. LM's second case is just a week old; it may have to hang around over the winter, too.
I found it interesting that LM hung her egg cases, as did her grandmother, out in the middle of nowhere. But a week ago, when the weather turned cold for a few days, she hauled them both over against a wooden shelf, well protected from the elements, and tied them down there.

The babies are pale cream, with grey dots in varied patterns. In the photo, full-size, two eyes stare straight ahead. The other six are not visible. I expect them to hang around the egg case for about four days, then start wandering; they will be dark and shiny by then. I'll keep close tabs on them, and maybe even get a few portrait shots.

Oh, and "Congratulations, Little Momma! Your babies are beautiful!"


  1. As usual, you reveal the world of our smallest creatures, and show us things we might miss. Only one question: when does your book come out?

  2. Hmmm... Something to think about.


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