An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Sac Spider Shelter Serves as Nursery & Coffin

7-10-15  sac spider 018It is not unusual to come across a rolled-up leaf – the larvae of many moths create shelters in this fashion, using silk as their thread. Less common, and more intricate, are the leaf “tents” of sac spiders. With great attention paid to the most minute details, a female sac spider bends a leaf (often a monocot, with parallel veins, as in photo) in two places and seals the edges (that come together perfectly) with silk. She then spins a silk lining for this tent, inside of which she lays her eggs. There she spends the rest of her life, guarding the eggs. She will die before the eggs hatch and her body will serve as her offspring’s first meal. (Thanks to Ginny Barlow for photo op.)

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8 responses

  1. How easy to say “bends a leaf in two places” but what must the task really be like to a small spider?!?! Thanks again for a fabulous posting. I’ll be looking for those strong little mommas hard a work.

    July 10, 2015 at 8:42 am

  2. Kathryn

    The ultimate maternal sacrifice.

    July 10, 2015 at 10:11 am

  3. Yikes, talk about maternal sacrifice!

    July 10, 2015 at 1:41 pm

  4. Susan Holland

    Wow! One more thing that you have taught me. I only wish I could retain all that I learn from you! But this one is very cool….. am going to check out my iris leaves and see if any of them have been folded!

    July 10, 2015 at 4:42 pm

  5. Viola

    How neat is that! Mary, you introduce your readers to so many natural marvels and miracles. Thank you many times over.

    July 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm

  6. Susan Sawyer

    Thank you, Mary, I didn’t know the babies ate the corpse. I would like to see the spider do this remarkable folding, which led to our local name Origami Spider. It must do it at night. I think it’s in the genus Clubiona, but I’m not positive about that.

    July 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

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