Female Phiddipus jonsoni
Location: Oxnard, California, USA
November 24, 2011 4:22 am
My friend caught this beautiful girl, who we’ve named Ruby, near her boyfriend’s apartment in Oxnard, California. Since her capture, she has laid three egg sacs, I am now taking care of the last remaining baby from the last sac(3 months old now, still too immature to determine gender). I figured you would like these pictures, though they aren’t the most high quality out there. I’ve loved spiders since I was a little girl, I assure you she’s well fed (mostly crickets, though she adores flies if I can catch them), and has a comfortable enclosure with fake plants and moss.
Signature: California Spider Lover
Dear California Spider Lover,
We are positively charmed by your letter, however, we do have a few questions. Did you raise many of the spiderlings? What did you feed them? Were they released back into the wild?
We also believe that raising local spiders like this and then releasing them back into the wild is an excellent educational opportunity for young children.
The first set of spiderlings (over 100!), I released after the majority of them hatched, I placed their sac under a bush near my husband’s grandma’s house in Ojai. The second sac only hatched a few spiderlings (around 30), I planned to raise them, but I didn’t have a car and lived half an hour away from the nearest store that sold fruit flies, and they didn’t survive. When Ruby laid the third sac, it was hard to see and I wasn’t sure whether it was a sac or just one of her webs, so it stayed in her enclosure until I noticed the spiderlings (a few weeks old at that point) around it. I carefully removed the sac and as many of the spiderlings I could to a large jar, and had around 60. With school and moving keeping me busy at the time, I neglected to get more jars or other suitable enclosures to separate them once they got to be around a month old, so most died, but I ended up with two who cohabited for quite a while. I separated them, but one died, and now I’m left with the last one, who is currently still being fed on fruit flies, and the occasional tiny cricket that gets into the cricket bag when I buy some for Ruby. I plan to keep him, and move him to a similar enclosure as Ruby once he’s big enough.
Attached is a picture of the spiderling I just took (through the glass of his jar, shows his underside), he’s about a centimeter long from head to spinnerets, still has the juvenile black and white pattern on his back, but, I just checked and he does have one spot of red, should hopefully know gender in another 2 or 3 molts!
Wow, that is a much more thorough update than we expected. Thanks so much for providing that additional information.