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. Anonymous8:23 pm

    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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