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 Post subject: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:13 am 
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A few days ago I captured a very small red spider outside my work. It was moving fast across pavement when found. Within a few hours it had produced a web and was hanging widow-like from it. I have no idea if it is an imm widow, a male widow, or a related species, but would love to raise it to adult. So far the smallest insects i give it are still too large and scare the sling away. This leads me to wonder what keepers use to feed their widow slings? Fruit flies come to mind. Doubt i would have any trouble trapping some of those, but afterward how does one transfer them to the spider without killing the little buggers?

Thanks for any suggestions.


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 Post subject: Re: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:38 pm 
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geobill wrote:
A few days ago I captured a very small red spider outside my work. It was moving fast across pavement when found. Within a few hours it had produced a web and was hanging widow-like from it. I have no idea if it is an imm widow, a male widow, or a related species, but would love to raise it to adult. So far the smallest insects i give it are still too large and scare the sling away. This leads me to wonder what keepers use to feed their widow slings? Fruit flies come to mind. Doubt i would have any trouble trapping some of those, but afterward how does one transfer them to the spider without killing the little buggers?

Thanks for any suggestions.


1) Most spiders do most of their feeding after dark. Feed after dark.

2) Try feeding it very small moths that are attracted to your porch light. There's something about the wing beats of moths that drives many spiders absolutely wild!

3) Or, merely place a slice of ripe or over-ripe apple (other fruit will work, e.g., banana, but apple is less messy than most) on the bottom of the spider's container. If the ventilation holes are large enough, fruit flies will come to it without further intervention from you. Put the apple slice in a jar lid or use some other way to make cleanup easier once the fruit gets so rotten it needs to be changed.

WE NEEDS PICHERS! WE LUVS PICHERS! GIMME PICHERS!

(But, please use a decent camera with good focus. Pretty please?)


Enjoy your little 8-legged wonder!



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 Post subject: Re: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Flightless fruit flies are commonly available, so you might try that. Personally, I'd use crickets, if you've taken it home. Many of the species which use that type of web can deal with prey which is quite large, so "small" crickets should work.

You might try and figure out what species it is also. Bugguide.net has many true spiders identified accurately on it.

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:08 pm 
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If it was moving fast on pavement it's probably not a widow or any of their Theridiidae relatives, as these spiders ar built for moving about in webs quickly but pretty awkward when not on their web.

How small is small? Theridiidae can take down prey many times their own size but newly hatched widows are really tiny and fruitflies or springtails are the best bet as even these are bigger than the spider. Once they get up to 1/4" though they should be able to take smaller crickets without a problem.

Wade


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 Post subject: Re: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:59 am 
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Feeding a moth at night worked instantly once i found one small enough. :)

As to id, after some work on bugguide and general web searches i believe i have a Little Brown Spider of the Steatoda genus. I would have described the body as a dark red, but i suppose brown would work as well. Mine has a white or cream-colored line (actually more like circular spots connected together) along the mid dorsal of the abdomen. There also seem to be two other spots on each side of the abdomen. Not exactly like the one pictured on bugguide, but similar. My eyes aint what they used to be so maybe a magnifying glass would help in the description. I will also try to post a couple pics in a few days if i can get some decent ones. Based on all this i cannot now say for sure this is a juvie. Maybe the adults are just that small. In either case it will be interesting to keep around.

A secondary reason for my posting topic is i have had several black widow adult females in the past, but failed in my attempts to try to raise babies from the egg sacs. Once they molted a time or two i separated them to prevent further cannibalization, usually putting them in a salt shaker with a cotton ball in the lid and a little stick for the web. I never got any beyond that point though. I think i was having trouble finding them small food. Flightless fruit flies were mentioned; does anyone know of a source for these? I also wonder if the temp and humidity were correct. I would like to try this again at some point, and would very much welcome thoughts on proper rearing of the wee ones.

Thanks much for your replies!


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 Post subject: Re: techniques for feeding slings of widow and kin?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:49 pm 
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I suggest browsing forums and websites that serve the poison dart frog hobby. You should find plenty of fruit fly and other tiny bug suppliers!

In addition to tiny food, I think widow spiderlings are also very vulnerable to drying out, yet they also do poorly in damp, stuffy conditions. The key is finding that balance between giving them the moisture they need without creating an unhealthy cage. Once they have some size on them they are super easy, I keep most widows with no substrate and no moisture other than what they get from prey.

Wade


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