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Unique Spider Nest

Description:

A very unique type of Spider nest that I've not seen used before. It was about 1 cm in diameter and has a circus tent-like structure with a second layer of webbing added on over the first layer. It was located on the under side of the leaf. The eggs must be under the flat surface of silk. The spider was nowhere to be seen, so it's creator remains a mystery.

Habitat:

Semi-rural residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, 2,200 meters.

Notes:

On 22 August, I went back to the plant with this nest and cut out a piece of the leaf with the nest on it. I've put it in a terrarium to see what emerges. After all the conversations and ideas from everyone, I decided to try something: on 29 August, I lighted up the nest from the opposite side of the leaf with a LED light (ie: no heat) to try to photograph the silhouette of whatever was inside. It actually worked and it looks like eggs inside and some have already hatched into spiderlings. You can see some of the little bodies with their 8 legs (picture 3), especially on the upper left side. None are emerging yet so maybe they stay inside until their first molt, as do many spiderlings. Can't wait to see them and give you all a photo!


No species ID suggestions

14 Comments

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 5 months ago

Update! On September 8th, 2018, the first Spiderling emerged (pictures 4 and 5). About 1mm in size. Babies continued to emerge for several days. When I dissected the nest on September 20th, I found that the lower flat circle of silk was actually made of 2 layers, with the eggs having been placed between the 2 layers. It contained some unhatched eggs and many molted first instar skins (exoskeletons), showing that the babies did indeed remain inside the nest until after their first molt.

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 6 months ago

That's great Lauren! Fantastic outcome. Can't wait to see the next images!

maplemoth662
maplemoth662 6 months ago

A beautiful nest....

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 6 months ago

Thank you for Spotting of the Day and for everyone's likes and comments. I was thinking before I photographed the silhouettes, that if it had been made by a moth larva, it would have had to do the upper "circus-like tent" first, followed by the silk mat below. If done by a spider mother, she would have had to do the silk mat first with her eggs inside and then do the circus-like tent last. This nest structure would have been very difficult for a larva.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 6 months ago

After all the conversations and ideas from everyone, I decided to try something: on 29 August, I lit up the nest from the opposite side of the leaf with a LED light (ie: no heat) to try t photograph the silhouette of whatever was inside. It actually worked and it looks like eggs inside and some have already hatched into spiderlings. You can see some of the little bodies with their 8 legs (see picture 3), especially on the upper left side. None are emerging yet so maybe they stay inside until their first molt, as do many spiderlings. Can't wait to see them and give you all a photo!

Machi
Machi 6 months ago

I wouldn't rule out moth pupa as well. Very cool find and I look forward to finding out what it is!

SukanyaDatta
SukanyaDatta 6 months ago

Congratulations Lauren.

Awesome find Lauren,congrats on the SOTD and thanks for sharing

DanielePralong
DanielePralong 6 months ago

Congratulation Lauren, this beautiful and mysterious structure is our Spotting of the Day! I hope the attention helps towards identifying its builder.

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Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 6 months ago

As Brian38 says, it would be just fascinating to watch one of these being constructed - amazing structure !

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 6 months ago

Thank you Brian, I sure wish the Mom had been there too. I'll let everyone know if something emerges, and if it never does, I'll open it up.

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate 6 months ago

Thank you Sergio, the one you spotted is really neat too. I went back and got this one, I cut out a large piece of the leaf with the nest on it intact and brought it home to a terarium. If anything comes out, I'll let you know!

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 6 months ago

Hi Lauren. I never knew the builder of this one too: http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/177... I don't even know if it WAS a spider... If you discover something about yours, please tell me.

Brian38
Brian38 6 months ago

I would love to see the spider building this nest.

Chiapas, Mexico

Lat: 16.71, Long: -92.61

Spotted on Aug 21, 2018
Submitted on Aug 25, 2018

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