My Digital Photography of
Baby Phidippus audax Jumping Spiders
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Spider #42's Babies (117 in total) --- From Egg to Adult Spider
Spider #42 with egg sac
This spider was found at my previous residence guarding a recently-laid egg sac. She had laid the eggs underneath a yard waste bin lid in a terrible spot. This is the first time I have ever attempted the relocation of an egg sac using a small scissors and a lot of care. I am pretty sure I was successful. I managed to place it on the edge of a cup where she could still build her resting sac underneath it. She also repaired the edges which had peeled back from the eggs a little bit. I can't wait for the babies to emerge! These photos were taken on June 22, 2009.
On June 29th, I could see the babies inside the egg sac...
It was not until July 18th that eleven of the babies emerged. I let ten of them go outside and tried to keep the eleventh one to attempt to feed it a flightless fruit fly. Here are a few of the eleven moving around and leaving the sac.
The rest emerged on July 20, 2009. There were 117 total. I also got a few photos of mama spider. There are also a few photos of one spider's first meal (a flightless fruit fly) and two others staring at it with jealousy.
Spider 42's babies, after second shed.
On 8-1-09, two of the four babies that I kept had shed their first skin. By the following day, the other two had shed their skin as well.
On 8-12-09, I noticed at least one of the spiders had shed another skin. I photographed each of the four spiders today. Then I released two of them. I didn't have the time to maintain 4 separate containers for each spider. To date, they have been living in pairs, but I didn't want to risk them cannibalizing each other if I forgot to put the fruit flies in on time. I thought it would be best if two went free. 1 and 2 were living together and I think they look like females. I kept one of them. 3 and 4 were living together and I think they look like males, so I kept one of them also. At this point, they were about 3/16" long from head to tip of abdomen. They are about 3 times the size as 23 days ago when they emerged from the egg sac.
Spider baby 1
Spider baby 2
Spider baby 3
Spider baby 4
Spider 42's babies, after third shed.
On 8-25-09 and 8-27-09, the two babies I kept shed their skin again and are now over 1/4" long. The second baby was very hard to photograph, which is why there are only 3 pictures and one is quite bad. It is very fast and kept hiding. I lost it in the hoya plant twice and almost had to give up looking until I finally spotted it.
Spider baby 1
Spider baby 2
Spider 42's babies, after fourth shed.
Both babies shed their skins again around 9-10-09. They were photographed on 9-13-09 and are now about two months old. The fast one still maintains its speed and was again difficult to photograph. The other one is more docile and prefers to hide out in its sac more than the other one, who is usually walking around in its cage. Notice how orange Spider 2 has become.
Spider baby 1
Spider baby 2
Spider 42's babies, after fifth shed.
They are pretty much adults now. "Baby" #2 shed his skin on Dec 8th when he was about 5 months old. I'm not sure if his sister shed a skin or not. They were photographed below on December 17, 2009. Spider 2 is even faster with his "new legs" and was more difficult than ever to photograph. He looks a lot like Biglegs now that he shed his skin. He has white tufts all over and much longer front legs than before.
Spider baby 1
Spider baby 2
Spider 42's babies, at about a year of age
Spider baby 1 on 6-19-10 and 7-15-10
Spider baby 2 on 6-19-10
Spider baby 2 on 7-13-10. These were his last photos. He died on October 16, 2010. He was nearly 16 months old---the longest I've ever kept a spider so far.
Maneater's Babies Batch 1 (32 in total)
Thirty-two babies emerged from one of my pet female, Maneater's egg sacs on June 14, 2008. She is the same female who mated with spider #32, but these were babies from a different male that I don't think I photographed. I released them all outside. It was nighttime, so it wasn't too hot for them (they can dry up almost instantly on a hot summer day). The day after was mild, but a bit rainy, so I hope they survived. These are the best baby photos I've ever gotten before---remember, these things are only about 1/16" long! A few babies are photographed on a yellow coriopsis flower and bishop's weed flowers (kind of like Queen Anne's Lace flowers). One thing I learned is that before they even emerge from the mother's original sac, they have already molted once---I found a whole bunch of tiny spider skins inside the sac. That's why they seem so much larger than the eggs they came from. I also made an animation from a series of photos.
Maneater and Spider 32's Babies Batch 2 (31 in total)
Exactly one month later, July 14, 2008, the second batch of babies began to emerge. It took them about 3 days to all leave the sac. This time, there were 31 babies. About a week and a half ago, it looked like Maneater might have laid another egg case inside the resting sac. There is a round bulge at the center. Apparently, she has the ability to store a male's sperm and lay eggs at her leisure (I also googled it to make sure I was right about my assumption). So who knows, maybe these babies weren't all from spider #32. The first two pictures show one of the babies in reference to mama's foot, which is sticking out from the sac.
On July 30, 2008, I picked some butterfly bush flowers to photograph some other insects on. To my surprise, this little jumper had tagged along. I have a strong feeling it is one of the babies I let go a few weeks ago. It was nearly 1/4" long and this is exactly the area where I released quite a few of the babies.
Several Baby Jumping Spiders (Offspring of Biglegs and Speedy)
On May 25, 2007, I came home from work to find that four baby jumping spiders had emerged from the egg-sac that my pet spider, Speedy, laid around April 16, 2007. She had been mated with Biglegs, so these are their babies. I am surprised that there were only four. I thought there'd be a lot more. Also interesting is how their eyes take up almost their entire face. Their spinnerettes are huge in proportion to their body, as if they just can't be made smaller and still retain their function. Also unusual is the fact that their body hairs seem to be the same length as an adult. They must play some important sensory role. These spiders were actually quite large for babies, measuring about 1/16" long. I let three of them go that afternoon after their photo shoot.
I kept one spider overnight so I could take a few more pictures...
Spider #47's Babies (50-some in total) --- at emergence and adult
These babies were a total surprise. I hadn't even realized that spider #47 laid eggs! On July 16, 2010, they started to emerge from her resting sac. There were over 50 in total. These aren't the greatest photos of babies, because they are still hidden by webbing, but I wanted to document the event. One good thing about the photos is that you can see how small they are in comparison to a standard plastic pet cage---you can see the vents and how big the spiderlings are.
By August 8, 2010, I was keeping the spiders in small groups of 6-8 spiders per container (about a quart-sized container). I have never done it this way before---usually, I release them outside right away and keep only a few spiders in their own private living quarters. I kept them very well-fed, which is why you'll see so many fruit fly bodies around. I didn't want them to cannibalize one another, although I did end up losing a few spiders to cannibalism anyhow. For the most part, they seemed to want to live in groups in the beginning of their life. I thought this because when I would try to release 10 or so in a cup outside and allow them to leave on their own, many times, 4 or 5 spiders would stay behind in the cup and make a shared resting sac. Sure enough, you can see that some of my babies chose to cohabitate like this. I also found that a couple spiders made what I am calling a "triple sac" because it is a resting sac with three entrances. I am keeping these two for sure.
Here are some spiders living together in the same sac...
Here is the triple sac...
Here are a few close-ups of one baby...
I had hoped to photograph the babies as they grew into adults, but I did not have the time. I kept six of the babies, but one died shortly before I took the photographs on June 5, 2011 and released the spiders outside. The spider who didn't make it was "Triple Sac." Below are head and abdomen shots of the five remaining babies. For more photos of each one, click here.
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