|Peucetia viridans (Green Lynx Spider) preying on a bee|
By late October the female lynx spiders reach maturity and are quite big, three fourth of an inch. They produce a ball of webbing that is about the size of a quarter and suspended from tall grasses or twigs of a mesquite or acacia.
The ball is the egg sac of the spider that she guards carefully. It contains hundreds of eggs Interestingly, in this case there was also silk-wrapped prey, namely a honey bee, in this nesting area. I wonder whether the female, duty-bound to the nest as she is, is now routinely trapping insects for food, or whether she just opportunistically collects when something gets caught. Are any of the threads sticky? I think I have to research what is known about the phylogenesis of spider webs as traps. Maybe they did all evolve from nesting webs which are not uncommon among arthropods.
Hundreds of young spiders will soon be pouring out of this one egg sack. It looks as if they go through one molt before they move on, as many exuviae are still hanging in the nest.
To find food and survive, the hatchlings will now have to disperse. Their tiny legs are not a great means of locomotion, even though each has eight of them.
|Juvenile wolf spider ready for take-off (photo by Pieceoflace Photohraphy)|
Instead, like dandelion seeds, many young spiders use aerial navigation: Each spider climbs the top of a grass or a twig. Here the spider lifts up its abdomen and spins out a thread, long enough to buoy up the spider. A mild upward air current of a still autumn day would be ideal to carry the silk and the attached little spider far enough to begin her live on her own.
|Gossamer Sunset (photo by DavidMXGreen@gmail.com)|