Saturday 26 March 2011

Spider breakfast bowl encounter

This morning I was getting ready to mop the kitchen when a I noticed a recently dead spider under the mop, a female Dysdera crocata. I thought I had just squished it inadvertently, left it aside for later photos, and filled the bucket. A I lifted the mop again, two spiders fell out of it, an Amaurobius and a female Dysdera. I got a couple of drinking glasses and put them over the spiders and started mopping. Up to then I was only a bit surprised by the attractiveness of this old mop for spiders but little else. I moved to the next room while mopping the floor and... yes, you guessed it! another spider fell out of the mop (number 4!) this time a male D. crocata, looking positively angry, lifting his front legs and fangs open! I grabbed another glass and card to fetch him and proceeded to shake the mop thoroughly. Number 5, a small, this one dead, but in good condition otherwise D. crocata fell out. I couldn't carry on with the mopping. I had three live spiders under glass including two adult male and female Dysderas. I had to stage an encounter between them, a breakfast bowl encounter. It was tricky, as they were warm and easily climbed out of the bowl several times, but I finally managed to put both spiders on the bowl under a glass and they settled. The male was only slightly smaller than the female. I slightly touched the male with the glass and he made contact with the female. As a lighting strike, they lifted their front legs and opened their chelicerae to the maximum and faced each other. I lifted the glass carefully and watched. The spiders stood their ground and wrestled with their fangs opened. After a few moments, the female retreated and the male run away. What were so many spiders doing in the mop? Is this a particularly good hiding place in the outside toilet? is it the mating season? or they are part of the same brood that have become trapped in the toilet. I doubt the later as the spiders are good climbing even glass and the window is always slightly open. The spiders did not seem very keen to mate. I wonder, as there are many woodlice in the outside toilet and it might be that these spiders are not territorial and are just exploiting it as the perfect hunting grounds. This post is a very strange end for a kitchen mopping session!
The spiders before I removed the glass

Sizing up their fangs

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