Slaying the Silverfish

So I just spent who-knows-how-long watching a spider hunt a silverfish. Presumably, given the act and the target, it was “Buffy the Silverfish Slayer.” I’ve never seen a silverfish move so slowly. I’m not sure if maybe Buffy had already gotten to it once, or if it was actually trying to move carefully to avoid tripping a web and setting Buffy down towards it. There were a few times Buffy lunged, but finally the silverfish moved in just the right spot, and Buffy scooped him up. These spiders can move fast.

I’m so proud! I feel like I’ve mentioned it before here, but I can’t find it, so I guess it must have been elsewhere. You know, before I made a blog and was tormenting other people with spider stories. But… until this year, I’ve never seen the spiders bag a silverfish. I think maybe they’ve started doing something differently with their webbing – stretching it out to the ledge more. So, Buffy (who I think is actually a guy, but hey, whatever) may be the only one that’s done this, or there may be others. It’s probably like Gala’s case though: often involved with mistaken identity.

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See, in the picture above, we’ve got the prime spider hotspot. …No I don’t know what happened to the wall, I think it’s been like that since I moved in. My roommate was thinking about trying to fix it sometime. On the left we have the side of the bathtub, and you can just barely make out Buffy hanging in the ‘lip of the tub. He chased the silverfish along the floor and eventually caught it after it crawled along where the floor met the tub. There’s barely any silverfish this year, but when I do see them, they’re generally to the right, moving along the wall where there’s about a centimeter of ledge. That’s where I think maybe the spiders have been changing their web patterns more, in order to get better alerted from the silverfish.

Well, after he grabbed the silverfish up, he went right to winding it. Very quick movements, and every so often he’d stop to pull it up to his jaws. I’m not sure what he was doing at that point, perhaps adjusting his work? A few minutes passed and he was still working on it, and I had a headache and food that was getting cold waiting for me, so I left him to it. Last I checked, he seemed to be done. I imagine in the morning I’ll find the wrapped silverfish cut from the webbing and on the floor.

(Here’s the same picture from above, but with Buffy being poorly circled in red. I wish I had had my camera while he was hunting, but I didn’t want to miss anything to go grab it. I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten a good picture anyway, and there’s not enough room on my SD card for video at the moment.)

At Least They Guard the Fire Extinguisher

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Well I was going to check of trash in the back room and going through this little area is… troublesome. There’s lots of spider webs back here EVERYWHERE so I always have to be careful; watch my head, watch my feet. I looked up though and saw Gala all proud and awesome in a corner, and had to dart off to find my camera. She’s got a buddy with her, no one I recognize. I thought maybe it could be Sabyr, but her back is too fat to be the same. Sabyr was more narrow, even after kids.


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The one above I might try to mark. I think it’s large enough that it might be female, so it’ll probably live for awhile. We’ll see if it’s still there later when I’m back from campus.

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I wonder if that fire extinguisher even still works… Though y’know, if ever there was a fire, I probably would be too panicked to figure out how to use it quick enough. Well, at least I have spiders to watch over it.

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Unusual Presence

Found a spider on the wall that was about half the size of Sabyr, but with a coloration of a newly hatched spider (a sort of dull gray). I tried to get a picture, but it wasn’t showing up on my camera. I’ve never seen such coloration on that size of a spider. Sabyr’s hatchlings are still in her area, and still barely the size of pinpricks. Did a different female have her eggs hatch much sooner, and this is just a very young spider that hasn’t finished shedding through its skin yet? I don’t know how else it came about. If it hangs around, I’ll try to keep an eye on it. Give it a week, maybe it’ll end up brownish like the rest of the population.

(Is there an official word for spider hatchlings? I should look it up sometime.) A hatched spider is called a “spiderling”, which is probably something I should have known. I’m sure I’ve fought spiderlings inĀ someĀ MMORPG at some point.

Sabyr’s Hatchlings

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Sabyr’s the only other female I’ve been able to find, aside from Gala’s wandering through. She’s resident beneath the cabinet. There might be some hiding behind the toilet, but given the location, I rarely look there. I wish I had actually been keeping track of how long she had been carrying the egg sac, but oh well. Yesterday, I believe, they started to hatch, but it may have begun sooner. The shape of the sac in her palps had been the same for awhile, but maybe it’s possible that the hatchlings hadn’t fully been out, or able to move away yet?

A few hours later, they’re spread out around her. It’s about 23 hatchlings, one of them has already left the mom’s web, surprisingly enough. Supposedly they stay in her webbing area for nine days. This one must be a rebel.

I’d really like to mark the spiders somehow, so I can actually tell them apart (instead of calling every large female “Gala”). I thought maybe a dot of paint could work. I’m not sure if it’d be harmful to them or not. I’m also not sure if adults shed their skins at all. I know that the babies do a few times before they’re full grown, but are they able to do it after? That would sort of ruin trying to mark them!

Sabyr’s the only one I have to test it on though. Males only last about a year, females last three or more. Heck if I know how old any of the males are, but I’m sure, given Sabyr’s size, she’s still young.

Gala

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I’ve probably named several spiders Gala over the years. Pretty much any large female that shows up gets the name; if there’s two, one is Gala, the other is Komta. As far as I’m concerned, Gala’s the ruler of the bathroom. Anyway, hadn’t seen her in awhile. She tends to pop up when I least expect it. She had been up near the ceiling, and when I go into the bathroom, I skim around to see if anything’s changed, or if there’s any of them somewhere that I might step on them or if there’s any silverfish on the floor. She was gone and I couldn’t find her, so I figured she’d skipped town again.

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Nope. I find her coasting down a wall in the shower. She should know better! Tsk. So I got a few, mostly unsteady, pictures of her, before slowly leading her back to a non-shower wall.

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Some spiders can hide in a nook of the shower and be safe from the water. I figured with her size she might not be as lucky, so I got her out. I later found her in a ceiling corner outside of the bathroom, and now she’s MIA again. I think she was looking for prey in other spiders’ webs before moving on. Who knows.

Recently I had a problem with trash in a closed-off storage room that had numerous fruit flies. After we got it cleaned out, I found several large females. I guess that’s where a lot of them have been hiding. I generally think they move to the cellar when they’re not in the bathroom. There’s not many elsewhere in the apartment. A few here or there, mostly males I think.