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My pet P. audax after molting - big surprise!

 
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themagicdrainpipe



Joined: 28 Apr 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: My pet P. audax after molting - big surprise! Reply with quote

So today has been a rollercoaster of a day for me as an arachno-parent. I'll start by saying that I found a P. audax not too long ago hanging out on my mailbox, while it was nearing freezing temps. Feeling bad for the spider, I figured I could give her a warm home through the winter and then release her in the spring. She had all the hallmarks of a female- large abdomen, small palps, correct color pattern, etc. She basically exemplified the female gestalt for P. audax.

Fast forward to a week ago, she had started to make a large web hammock and was spending a LOT of time in it. Not coming out for water or food, and it seemed like a bad sign to me. I read that females would do similar behavior when they were preparing an egg sac, but shining a light into the hammock only outlined her- no other objects in there.

Being frustrated, and scared as to why she wasn't eating, I coaxed her out this afternoon for a photoshoot. She was very keen to play on an aloe plant in the house, so I let her have her fun. She seemed to be in good spirits and lively, so I figured that everything must be alright.







After having her out and playing with her, I figured that I was in the clear to name her (I didn't want to get too attached and then she just die). I'm a big mythology fan, so I searched around for a good name for her. The deity Anansi stood out to me because he was a "trickster". I thought this was fitting of my spider, so I feminized the name to "Nancy". So now my beautiful spider had a name... great! Again, as soon as I returned her to her enclosure Nancy went straight to her hammock.

When I came home from dinner something strange was laying on the bottom of the enclosure...



It was a cap, and it was Nancy's! She had molted while I was at dinner! I hurriedly got a pair of tweezers and retrieved the molt debris, and soon located Nancy in the upper corner of her enclosure.



Nancy looked... buff... though. Her front legs were much longer, her abdomen had become much more svelte, and she had quite the pair of palps on her. The coloration on her was all wrong. Instead of coming out more vibrant she was pretty much all black and white save for a few patches of color on her chelicerae and abdomen. There was white on her palps... and that was not right.





(Crop of the head, still has liquid from the molt on its eyes)


Then it hit me - Nancy is a male P. audax. All this time when I thought she was making an egg sac, HE was just trying to molt.

Ah well, HE is pretty badass. I'm calling him Mr. Nancy Laughing This has also taught me that sexing spiderlings and juveniles isn't as cut and dry as I thought. Learning something new every day!
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18250
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pictures, and a delightful story!

I notice in this last set of photos that the artificial "iris" effect is toned way down. I don't know whether that was your intention, but I like this rendition better.

That's a pleasantly colored and textured substrate for the last few shots. Human skin, I presume?

--Rik
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 2850
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brice, fascinating thread!

I find myself particularly wide-eyed at the cap left after molting. Very cool. Very Happy

Have sent you a PM.

--Chris S.
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microman



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Super fascinating and interesting !
When i saw the molted head cap i thought it died somehow Shocked
Did not know the whole cap with lenses came off like that.
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themagicdrainpipe



Joined: 28 Apr 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
Nice pictures, and a delightful story!

I notice in this last set of photos that the artificial "iris" effect is toned way down. I don't know whether that was your intention, but I like this rendition better.

That's a pleasantly colored and textured substrate for the last few shots. Human skin, I presume?

--Rik


To be honest it wasn't my intention, but I'm glad that you liked it. I am somewhat on the fence about the faux irises. I have a lot of friends that identify as arachnophobic (some at a greater degree than others) who have told me that they able to tolerate the spiders so much more when they have this anthropomorphism.

For scientific and other more strict purposes I totally agree that the irises need to go. As far as what I'm doing, I have found them to be beneficial at least in reaching more people. If I can get one person to even hesitate before smashing a spider, I think my job is done Laughing

I am in the works of modifying my current diffusion, so we'll see where it goes. I'm just trying to make sure that the field rig is pleasing in both diffusion and reflection. I struggled for a long time to get these results and don't want to mess anything up ha.

And yes, he was hanging out on my hand between my thumb and index finger near the web (ha). Very docile and seemed to be very inquisitive. Such a stark difference between pre-molt and post-molt.

Chris S. wrote:
Brice, fascinating thread!

I find myself particularly wide-eyed at the cap left after molting. Very cool. Very Happy

Have sent you a PM.

--Chris S.


The cap was so cool to look at. Sent you a PM back, but unfortunately I discarded it Embarassed These spiders should molt once every month or so, so I'll try to get a cap (and keep it) next time around Smile

microman wrote:
Super fascinating and interesting !
When i saw the molted head cap i thought it died somehow Shocked
Did not know the whole cap with lenses came off like that.


When I first saw what the molts looked like I thought the same thing. Weird how the entirety of the exoskeleton is shed. I just can't wrap my head around how much bigger he is post-molt. Doesn't seem possible that all of that spider was hiding in the pre-molt body! Shocked
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Lou Jost



Joined: 04 Sep 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely story. I have an idea to suggest to you-- maybe you can figure out how to make an image using the lens of the old spider eye?
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

themagicdrainpipe wrote:
For scientific and other more strict purposes I totally agree that the irises need to go. As far as what I'm doing, I have found them to be beneficial at least in reaching more people. If I can get one person to even hesitate before smashing a spider, I think my job is done Laughing

I understand -- no criticism intended. Public relations are an important thing!

Quote:
Weird how the entirety of the exoskeleton is shed. I just can't wrap my head around how much bigger he is post-molt. Doesn't seem possible that all of that spider was hiding in the pre-molt body! Shocked

I imagine that what you're seeing is fluid transfer from flexible regions like the abdomen into heavily sclerotized regions like the carapace and chelicerae and legs, which cannot change their size once they harden.

According to Biology of Spiders (by Rainer F. Foelix, Second Edition, page 224), during the molting process "The weight of the cephalothorax increases by 80%, while the abdomen shrinks and loses about 30% of its weight."

microman wrote:
Did not know the whole cap with lenses came off like that.

That behavior is unexpected until you know about it, but it's common among many different kinds of arthropods. See for example the following images of caterpillar head capsules:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3995
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=23377#23377
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4021

--Rik
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 273

PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very interesting tale, and terrific pictures. Perhaps the main lesson to learn about gender assignment in these jumpers is that female jumpers look a bit like juvenile ones.
Now you need to find a Mrs. Nancy for your Mr. Nancy.
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microman



Joined: 14 Jan 2017
Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks i will check em out !

rjlittlefield wrote:


microman wrote:
Did not know the whole cap with lenses came off like that.

That behavior is unexpected until you know about it, but it's common among many different kinds of arthropods. See for example the following images of caterpillar head capsules:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3995
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=23377#23377
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4021

--Rik
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JH



Joined: 09 Mar 2013
Posts: 945
Location: Vallentuna, Stockholm, Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting and nice pictures.
Best regards Jörgen Hellberg
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