i'll just wing it and hope it's not too confusing. since hatching within the cocoon, the bubbies have taken their time to emerge. two little ones came out first - maximun and minimun. i took max out to play walkwalk on my hand first, but max was too zippy to photograph. i suspect max is the firstborn (which was proven further later). so i tried to photograph min instead, and she stayed still like a good little girl. :)
min was so still and quiet i thought she might be blind. it turns out the bubbies are a little err retarded when they first emerge from the cocoon. so min sat quietly in my hand while i snapped pictures to my heart's content, and i even had time to scroll through to check for clarity.
min was isolated in a temporary container, while max continued to roam munster's jar.
the next day, munster was out walking. i'd fed her heaps and she wasn't hungry, but max was driving her nuts. hee. little max zoomed like crazy around the jar and the movements would catch munster's eye. she would stop and glare for a little while, before turning away. jeremy said she might eat max soon, so i rescued the little bub.
i prowled the neighbourhood and caught some miniscule insects to put max and min on their first training hunt. neighbours thought i was a loon, going around peering at seemingly blank walls at nose length. :)
max and min passed their hunting tests with flying colours - from junior level (very tiny insects like aphids) to intermediate (fruit flies) to advanced (male mozzies, which are like three times their body length). they progressed at about the same time, with max displaying sharper hunting techniques (firstborn indeed!) while min takes a little longer to snag her prey. both have done well and i is a proud granny. :)
because max is way too fast, isn't shy, and tries to jump on the camera all the time, the best i could do was two not-as-clear-as-i-would-have-liked pictures of her.
she ran non-stop around my hand. when the camera lens was very close, she'd try to jump on it. she actually got on my lens twice. she jumped around so much that my hand was full of little web-strings (they are in the habit of pinning a string down before jumping... helps them to zoom back to where they were in case they regret jumping. kinda like a ctrl-z/undo action on the computer).
you can see she's a different colour from min because this was after a few days of hunting and eating already. their bodies are starting to change colour. as i type, max and min are actually almost ready to moult for the first time outside of the cocoon. they've both turned a shiny jet-black colour and have been sitting quietly in their mini-hammocks. i'm hoping to catch them in the act. :)
min was named minimun because i commented on how she looked like a mini-munster one night after she'd just eaten a rather large fruit fly. credit to uncle jeremy for the suggestions of minimun and maximun. the name maximun was meant to be tagged on a later baby which turns out to be the fattest and biggest, but i couldn't wait because the little firstborn girl was turning out like max in dark angel - very kickass! besides, it seemed only right for the two first bubs to be max and min.
i'm keeping several babies because i want to be sure that i have a girl. apparently it's very difficult to tell a spider's gender when they are still bubs. so jeremy suggested for me to keep at least four bubbies so the chances of having at least one girl is pretty high.
two days after max and min emerged from the cocoon, the baby-explosion happened in munster's jar. all the bubs came out one by one and soon the jar was a happening little place! i put in two fruit flies in case any of them were ready to hunt. the next morning, i found the flies dead and did a bit of detective work to see which bubs had dunnit. it wasn't hard to spot them - they had the tell-tale red tummies that jeremy taught me to look out for which means they've eaten. two bubs were sporting bright red tumtums, and i scooped bubba3 and bubba4 out immediately.
bubba3 had a special mission. i brought it out with me to meet a girlfriend who was having surgery the next day (a similar surgery to my impending one) and we played walkwalk with it on our hands to cheer her up. she christened it 'dances with leaves' and we released it into the bushes next to takashimaya.
bubba4 is poof. poof sat in her little jar for awhile, then suddenly disappeared. i looked around an empty jar, flabbergasted. until i spotted a hole in the cork which made a nice cosy cave for a baby spider. the next day, i put a fruit fly into poof's jar for her to hunt. a few seconds later, i saw the darn fly escape through a flapping air vent which hasn't been glued down properly! so i thought, maybe poof has poofed a long time ago! i prodded the cork-cave with a brush and poof popped out. :) air vent has been taped down and cork has since been changed, so poof was forced to spin a hammock like everyone else. speaking of which, she has still managed to do things differently by spinning her hammock in a location different from her siblings.
this is a weird thing that i'm still observing with no conclusion. of the six bubs that have been isolated in their own spideyhomes, four of the bubs have spun their hammock in EXACTLY THE SAME LOCATION! isn't that weird? they've picked a spot that is approx 40 degrees angle to the right of the cork, if the cork is taken as the centre. max did it first, then the rest followed. i wonder if they've been passing notes to each other behind my back.
well, so little poof spun hers 40 degrees to the left of the cork instead. :)
on to bubba5. one night, i'd accidentally flooded munster's jar with fruit flies. oops. so i tried to take some out. one little bub pretended to be a fly and ran into my container. so, that was how flynn was taken out. this little girl is very alert and quick on her feet, but gets distracted rather easily. she'd hunt and hunt and then forget she was hunting...
bubba6 is poe, to be adopted by one of my girlfriends, miss salsarina. i'm gonna be nanny for awhile to fatten poe up so that sal doesn't have to go around trying to catch insects of less than 2mm. poe is named after the book that sal has just bought - edgar allan poe's complete works. :)
i picked poe out for sal by opening the cap of the jar and catching the bub that made it to the top first. poe is turning out to have quite a character of her own as well. she is a gan-chiong spider! ('gan-chiong spider' is a local slang in singapore which literally means 'flustered spider', usually used on people who are rushing about like spiders) hehehe. very cute when she's trying to hunt. she jumps around like mad, trying to grab the meal. i'm not sure if she will learn the art of prowling later on. :)
last but not the least, we have a special child named missy. missy was one of the last to emerge from the cocoon. strangely, she came out looking rather fat and round. i was convinced that this one is a girl! i scooped out her with some difficulty because she was a little spastic. :p she just wouldn't respond to anything. the thought of blindness crossed my mind again, but i remembered that min was also like that. so, i gave her more time.
missy is taking longer than all her siblings to wise up to the world. i think we do have a problem child in this one. she's the only one who hasn't built her hammock in her new home, and has only hunted one fruit fly to date (the rest have hunted at least two each). however, i believe she is actually quite a clever girl when she chooses to be - she actually caught the fruit fly within 5 seconds of it entering the jar, and was spot-on with her first pounce.
she is also the only waterbaby amongst the spideybubs. she loves water! after her photoshoot on my hand, she actually went and sat on the water cotton piece. she washed her face and wiped herself down. then just sat there stoning away for a long time. she only started to clamber off when i moved her jar to take a better picture.
i think this entry is very disjointed because there is so much i'm trying to say but they're coming out in bits and chunks. i hope it doesn't make for terrible reading. one last thing is, if you noticed, i've been calling my bubs girls even though i'd mentioned that it's not possible to tell their gender when they're so young. well, after staring at the bubs milling around in munster's jar for long hours everyday, i think i can tell them apart. i'm not sure if my theory holds true, only time will tell when these six bubbies mature. but for now, i'm quite sure i'm right.
oh, more last things to say. the rest of the bubs have since been released. i've trained them to hunt in munster's jar with lots of fruit flies, and monitored their progress as best as i could (for like 20 bubbas, quite mind-boggling). only a handful hadn't managed to hunt, and those are the ones nature will weed out, i believe. they're on their own now.
in other news, munster has laid another batch of eggses. i think these will go straight to mother nature when they emerge, along with all subsequent batches. i wonder how many kids munster will have...