A litter of Cat-Faced Spiderlings! (Kittens?)

If you recall last fall’s beautiful cat-faced spider, you may be pleased to learn that her eggsac survived the winter, and hundreds of her orphans are now dispersing out along our windowscreen and wall.

Sometimes it is hard to pick out the separation between cephalothorax and abdomen, especially when spiderlings (“slings”, for short) are clumped together. They quickly spread out when somebody looms close, as I did with my camera. When the spiderlings are moving, it’s easy to see that they’re built like adult spiders, with a pinch dividing their two body segments.

Here the spiderlings are, clumped together, viewed from inside the house.
As I moved in with my camera, they rapidly dispersed – a sensible way to avoid being eaten.

I love doing infant photography.

Here are more slings, arrayed on their strands of webbing, outside of the eggsac their mother was guarding last autumn.
The evening sun silhouettes moving spiderlings, making it easy to see their body regions, or “tagma”.

Ask the Entomologist: Massive spider

This past week I had an identification request from a bit closer to home. This giant spider was perched right below one of our windows and my wife wanted to know what it was. While I’d seen and admired her webs before, this was the first time I met the web’s weaver. She must have…

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