Monday, January 12, 2009

Tiny Spiderlings : Under the care and protection of mother.
The fertilisation of the female spider does not happen through direct contact with the genitalia, but on a very unique manner in the world of the animals: the indirect sperm transfer. Shortly after the last molt, the male spider spins a small carpet (sometimes only some threads) somewhere made out of fine silk. Next he brings his genital opening above this woven carpet and releases his sperm upon it. For a male, the approach of a female is a rather risky and dangerous adventure, all the more that the female is several times bigger than the male. Therefore the male does not head straight to the female, but begins very modestly to attract her attention. From a place close to the web he spins a thread to the web; from this "lovers bridge" he starts his courtship. This courtship or love-game has a triple purpose, investigate from a safe distance if the female is prepared to undertake a copulation; excite the female sexually and make the female understand that the intruder is not prey and does not belong to another spider species.
The egg-laying occurs 2-3 weeks after the mating. The female may guard the cocoons or carry them about. The female spider produces an egg sac that can contain up to a thousand tiny spider eggs. The egg sac is made of silk, and the color varies from species to species. In some spiders the hatchlings remain with the mother for an extended period and may be carried on its body. Different species show remarkable care for their offspring. Hunting-spiders, which make no webs, show on another manner a moving care for their eggs. They carry their egg-sack always with them, glued by means of silk to their spinnerets or between their jaws. In other species, the egg sac is hidden under a rock, attached to a plant stalk, or encased in a web. In the very tiny round eggs, the first development takes place. The teeny-weeny spiderlings (baby spiders) break the egg-wall by means of a kind of egg-tooth (which releases later on) at the base of the palps; they leave the egg and, after a short while, the silk of the egg-sac. Tiny spiderlings hatch from the eggs - they look like tiny versions of an adult spider. As the first development-phase isn't quite completed, the spiderlings are rather helpless. In their abdomen they possess quite important quantities of stored food (egg yolk) which helps them to survive before they have to search for prey. The young animals that succeed in resupplying their energy-stock survive. Some spiderlings are on their own and receive no care from their mother. Other spiders climb onto their mother's back after hatching, where she feeds them. In some species, the mother dies when the young are ready to go off on their own, and the spiderlings eat her carcass.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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