|Hopalong, on a pine needle.|
I kept it, and a second like it, in a jar for a month, then transferred them to an old, scratched-up aquarium with a fresh batch of pine tips and the latest crop of fruit flies from my trap in the kitchen. They've been hard to see, hiding among the needles, mostly.
|Hopalong, not hiding too well at the moment.|
But yesterday, one was out on the side wall. She had just molted, and was resting above the abandoned exoskeleton, stretching herself out into her fresh skin, still soft.
|The old molt. She splits the body, then shucks it like a coat, pulling the 8 legs out last.*|
|And now she measures about 8 mm fangs to spinnerets.|
(I had to photograph her through the scratchy glass; she's just as excitable and hoppy as ever. I edited out most of the scratches, but didn't touch her in the photo.)
*I found this YouTube time-lapse sequence of a tarantula molting. This can take from an hour up to 12 hours, including the drying time, when the spider is too soft even to right itself.