[Warning to the arachno-squeamish: this post contains photos of spiders.]
I don’t usually post twice in the same day, but I made the most exciting discovery while mowing the lawn: I’m a foster mom!
Remember the marbled orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus) I found outside my window early last October? At the end of the month I discovered she had made an egg case on the hatch cover to our crawlspace. I took photos but didn’t get to post them. She was much slimmer than in her gravid state, and her abdomen had turned from creamy yellow to the vivid orange of her lovely legs, still with the same brown markings. A few days after I took this photo, she was nowhere to be found. I felt much as Wilbur felt in Charlotte’s Web, saddened by her passing but honored to watch over her young.
Our furnace is located in the crawl space, and I decided not to have it serviced for the winter out of fear that the egg case would be disturbed or damaged when the furnace tech removed or replaced the hatch cover. I had my fingers crossed all winter that nothing would go wrong. Thankfully, it didn’t.
I’ve been checking the egg case throughout the spring, and today this is what I found:
I wish I had a macro lens to get a really good photo: each of those tiny cream-colored dots is a baby Araneus marmoreus, dozens of perfect miniatures of their mother, yellow abdomen and all! (I’d need a pretty strong magnifying glass to see if they have brown markings.) Above you see them with the egg case, and below you can see those that had ventured as far as the brickwork around the hatch. I hope some of them stick around, as some of Charlotte’s spiderlings did in the book.