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Mother Feeding Spiderlings - Phylloneta impressa - female

Mother Feeding Spiderlings - Phylloneta impressa - Female
Whitecourt, Alberta, Canada
July 21, 2009
Size: BL = 4mm
Theridion impressum spiderlings, feeding on a fly provided by their mother.

I've been keeping a female T. impressum for about 6 weeks now, and during that time she produced an egg sac. The babies emerged a couple of days ago and gathered as a group about 3-4 cm below the sac.

Before the babies emerged I would put small flies into the web and the mother would catch and eat them, in normal theridiid fashion. Tonight I introduced a small fly in the same way, the first since the babies emerged. The mother caught it in the usual fashion, then brought it over by the egg sac (her retreat area) where she usually eats her prey. This time, instead of eating the fly she left it hanging in the web. The babies soon came and covered the fly, apparently feeding on it, while the mother stayed off to the side.

[addendum: based on what I've seen with a second T. impressum and her young, I would say that rather than bringing the food over and leaving it for her babies it is more likely that she started eating and then the babies moved onto the prey and started eating. She probably moved off at that point to let them have it. This is what has been happening at times with each prey item caught by the second T. impressum and her brood. Sometimes, though, the mother does stay and eat alongside her young.]



Impressive capture!
This is an awesome shot! Thank you for taking the time to share this.

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