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False Black Widow Spiders Mating

Breeding notes
I transferred the adult female into a flowerpot for a few days waiting for her to spin her untidy tangle-web into a suitable position for my photography.  I placed the male into the flower pot a few days later, at first both spiders were chasing each other but soon calmed down and was not long before I was filming the mating. The female showed no aggression towards the male during or after mating, although she was well fed before by placing crickets into her web every few days.

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False Black Widow Spider Eating Prey (Steatoda paykullana)

False Black Widow Spider Andy
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False Black Widow Spider (Steatoda paykullana).

Black Widow Spiders Mating explained.
At first glance, the picture on top left does not look like spiders mating unless you understand spider sex, so I will try and explain. Earlier the adult male spider would have spun a temporary hammock styled sperm web which he would have used to deposit sperm, then pick up and store using his palpi. If you look carefully at the picture on the left and shown close-up above you can see the male inserting the end of its pedipalps into the female and just look where her fangs are positioned facing the male, luckily she has been well fed.

Andy Newman Images© 11/012

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False Black Widow Spider guarding two egg sacs.

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False Black Widow Spider Guarding Egg Sac.

    Mating was on the 29/12/11 and the egg sac created on the 18/01/12. A very protective mum as she rests on a twig until any movement, then she moves to protect her nest. On the 21/01/12 The female False Widow spider has made another egg sac six inches above the first sac near the top of the sweet container she is housed in. I never expected another egg sac so soon before the first has hatched, she is now protecting two egg sacs.

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False Black Widow Spider guarding three egg sacs.

A few days later after making a second egg sac, the female False Widow spider moved the first sac, through her tangled web, next two the second egg sac in a horizontal position. I would have like to have witnessed her moving the sac. So now she can guard both sacs at the same time instead of protecting her egg sac separately. She has captured crickets I placed in the container and wrapped them in silk, storing her prey close to the sacs. Knowing this caring mum, food or her babies for when they hatch. I have not seen two egg sacs with false widow spiders but I suppose if one sac fails or is damaged the other might survive. She places her fangs into the sac frequently checking, a brilliant mum. I am spraying the container with water every few days, housed in a heated vivarium. Andy Newman Images 29/01/12.

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Male and female False Black Widow Spider.

False Black Widow spider guarding three egg sacs.

        On the 04/02/12 The female False Widow Spider has made another egg sac, so now she is guarding 3 egg sacs, again the egg sac was made at the bottom of the sweet jar she is contained in and later moved to the top. So she can protect them all together. I reintroduced the male and he spent many hours vibrating the web, she is tolerating him now both living together.

Baby False Black Widows Hatched - Female guarding eight egg sacs.

10/03/12 Now guarding 8 egg sacs and the first batch of baby spiders hatched, some are larger than I expected so maybe some cannibalism. Female is still very fat and is taking large crickets straight from tweezers. I am placing squashed crickets on the tangled web for the babies she is eating more crickets in a week then my large tarantulas or at least sucking its food dry leaving empty carcasses.  I have now moved babies into another large sweet jar with egg sacs to keep them clean, baby spiders are living in a group.

False Black Widow 11 egg sacs.

02/04/12 Now guarding another egg sacs, which is the eleventh. Male is always close to female.

The female continued to make egg sacs but many of these were small, she died on the 02/06/12, with the male still alive and as always close to the female. I released him into my garden. The baby spiders are now a good size and all living together.

Andy Newman Images©  04/06/12.

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Hatchlings can be distinguished between sexes this is male.

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False Black Widow Spider Hatchlings..