'*:" 'J ' y'^-'" '':>'''^V *■/' '5'^ ''.•'- "









ia.qo, University of COLORADO

' ''<A \ MUSEUM /










Vice-President of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia; Vue-President of the American Entomological .Socil-rTY ; . Author of "The Agricultural Ants of Texas," " The Honey 'and Oc-cident Ants,"




Academy of Natural Siiences of Philadelphia.

A. D. 1890.


Tliis Edition is limited to Two Hundred and Fifty copies, of

which this set is


„. //^.





With the completion of the second volume of "American Spiders and their Spinningwork," I feel that I have substantially ended the task which many years ago I proposed to myself. That task, as it lay in my pur- pose, was the description and illustration, in as large detail as possible, of the spinning industry and general habits of true spiders.

Subsequently, as announced in the first volume of this work, my plan was so far modified as to make the spinningwork and lial>its of Orbweav- ers the principal theme, and to group around the same the industries of other spiders in such relations and proportions as seemed practicable. In the present volume I have adhered to this modified j>lan, but less closely than in the preceding one, having made large use of tlie natural history of other tribes than the Orbitelarise.

It is probable that this volume will be more interesting than Volume I. both to the scientific and general public. It takes up the life history of spiders, and follows tliem literally from birth to death, from the cradle to the grave ; more tlian that, it goes Ijcyond the sphere of existing faunal life into the geologic periods, and touches upon the history and destiny of ancestral araneads who lived in the strange surroundings of prehistoric continents, the sites of which are embosomed in tlie rocks, or, like the amber forests, are now beneath the ocean. Tlie courtship and mating of these solitary creatures; their maternal skill, devotion, and self sacrifice; their cocoon life and babyhood ; their youtli and old age ; their means of communion with the world around them ; their voyages through the air and dens in the ground ; their allies and enemies ; tlieir fashion of death and its strange disguises these and other facts I have tried to bring be- fore the reader in the following pages.

Moi'eover, my studies have necessarily brought me face to face witli many of tlie interesting jiroblems, theories, and speculations of modern science. I liave had no })et theory to approve or oppose, and have not



sought to marshal the facts in hand for or against this or that philoso- phy of life and its origin. Indeed, my aim has been to write a natural history, and not a philosoi)hy thereof. Yet I have here and there alluded to matters witli which current thinking has much to do. This fact may also tend to make this volume more generally interesting than the preced- ing or succeeding one.

I have not found the difficulties of my task lessened, but rather in- creased in treating these features of the history. Spiders are solitary and secretive at tiie best, and these characteristics have reached their highest expression in those acts eoeooning, for example with which a large part of Volume II. is concerned. It lias thus been unusually difficult to secure a, continuous authentic record of habits. ' Then, again, these studies have necessarily been only the recreations of a busy professional life, whose en- gagements have rapidly multiplied, and been more onerous and exacting in . the last six years than ever before. These off labors have, therefore, continually receded or been suspended before the i)ressing and more se- rious obligations of duty. Nevertheless, I am glad to have done so much, and have great satisfaction in the hope that others, stixnulated by my labors, may pass on through the vestibule where I must stop, and explore the vast temple of aranead lore that lies beyond.

I have si)oken of my task as substantially completed. I do not forget that the Third Volume yet remains to be finished, and that it is the most costly and, in some respects, the most difficult of all. But much of the work thereon is already done, and I feel ju.stified in finishing it in a more leisurely waj'. That volume, with the exception of two chapters, will be devoted to species work, and will present, as far as it seems to nie neces- sary for identification, descriptions of the Orbweaving fauna of the United States. These will be illustrated by a number of lithographic plates, drawn in the best style of art and colored by hand from Nature. Plate IV. of the five colored plates in the present volume will best illustrate the character of those which are to follow. To the above I will add some species of other tribes whose habits have had especial notice in this work.

I have now said all that I expect to make public of my observations of spider manners, with the exception of one chapter on General Habits, which I have reserved foi- the opening pages of Volume III., and, })er- haps, a second chapter, which may be necessary for the explanation and enlargement of matters to which attention may be called by those who have followed me in the preceding studies.


In these opening chapters of Volume III. I shall consider the toilet lial)its, manner of drinking, methods of burrowing, moulting and its con- sequences, prognostication of the weather, some of the superstitions associ- ated with spiders, spider silk and its commercial value, and some other l)oints in the natural history of spiders not embraced in the preceding volumes.

I again make my thankful acknowledgments of the assistance cordially given me by various friends and fellow laborers. Dr. George Marx, of Washington, has been especially helpful by generously placing at my dis- posal his entire collection of spider cocoons, and also by notes upon the habits of some of the species whose life history I have described. To Prof. Samuel H. Scudder I am indebted for various references and hints in pre- paring the chapter on Fossil Spiders, and for the use of his own publi- cations. Mrs. Mary Treat and Mrs. Rosa Smith Eigenmann have both helped me with valuable material sent by the one from the Atlantic coast, by the other from the Pacific.

H. C;. McC. The M.vxse,

PiIIL.\DELPIII.\, July oil, ISiiO.





Tlie Jlystery of ;Mating The Male searching for his Mate Males relatively Fewer JNIales before IMating Argiope cophinaria Stages of Courtship Aranead Lovers A Lover's Peril Relative Sizes of Sexes An unequally matched Couple Xephila and Argiope Sexes that live together The Water Spider— Quarrels of Males Fe- male Combativeness IMethods of Pairing among Orbweavers A Love Bower . . 15-40



Love Dances of Saltigrades Pairing of Linyphia marginata The Period of Union In- terruptions— Agalena n?evia pairing Love beneath the Waters Caressing Pairing of Laterigrade-s Lycosids Love Dances of the Saltigrades Love Dances of Birds Displays are to attract Females A Saltigraile Harem Color Development .... 41-(i0


Value of general Habits Value of spinning Habit Maternity inspires Insect Archi- tecture— Spider Industry influenced by Maternity By sexual Feeling in Males Disproportion of Size in Sexes Sexes of equal Sizes Numerical Propfirtion of Sexes Relative Activity of Sexes Spermatozoa Agamic Reproduction Gl-7-1




Cocoiming Sites Argiope'.s Cocoons Leafj' Canopies Contents of Coco(jns The Egg IMass Argiope cophinaria Epeira Cocoons Cocooning Tents Cocoons of Zilla Cocoon of Nephila Gasteracantha Spiders with several Cocoons Tetragnatha extensa Cyrtarachne's Cocoon The Cocoon String of Labyrinthea Cyclosa bi- furca Basilica Spider's Cocoon Plumefoot Spider's Cocoon Uloborus Double Co- cooning in Argiope 75-110





('(jcotiii.s of TJn_'ridium Argyrodes trigonum Cocoons of Ero Tln'ridiuni frondeuiii or Theridiosoma radiosum? Cocoons in Nests Carrying Cocoons in Jaws Pliolcus Vpliolstered Cocoon of Agalena Medicinal Sjiider The Water Spider's Cocoon Tlie Parson Spider Brooding Cocoons Mud plastered Cocoons Cocooning Nest of an English Drassid— Cocoons in Tubes Segostria canities and her Cocoons Dic- tyna philoteichous Cocoons of the Territelariie Trapdoor Spiders Cocoon of the Tarantula Lycosa carrying her Cocoon The Leaf thatched Cocoon Nest of Dolo- medes Pucetia aurora Nesting Cocoons of Saltigrades Cocoons of Laterigrades The Huntsman Spider and lier Egg Cradle Cave Spiders Origin of Cave Fauna Eflects of Cave Life 111-1.38



Huw Argiope weaves her Cocoon Use of the Legs in Spinning Equalizing the Output of Thread Epeira's Method Weaving a Cocoon Theridium Agalena nsevia Beating down the Thread General Spinning Method Composition of Cocoons How Cocoons are disposed of Protection of Cocoons Cocoon Forms Variety and Complexity Number of Cocoons 15!)-177



Cocoon Sites Feeding Limits Secreting Cocoons Niglit Cocooning Ovipositing Cali- fornia Trapdoor Spider's Eggs Shape of Cocoon Maternity ami Cocoon Structure Complexity and Maternal Care Cocoon Vigils Multifold Cocooning Number of Eggs Fertility and Exposure The Mother Turret Spider The Watch of Dolo- medes British Spiders Special Cases of Mother Care Feeding the Young Per- sonal Care of Young The Spiderlings Strength of Maternal Feeling Mistakes of Mothers— Unintelligent Instinct— Intuitive Skill— Marks of Forethought— The Mud Cradle Maker— Man's Method and the Spider's 178-205




Adult ami Young Period of Hatching First Moult Cocoon Cannibalism Escape from the Cocoon Delivery by Birds By INIother Aid First Days of Outdoor Life Gre- gariou.s Habit Movement Upward A Tented Colony Dispersions The Children of the Spider Web Mortality among Spiderlings Assembly of Spiderlings— Bridge and Tent Making A Cantonment and Tower Argiope aurelia and lior Young Spider Communities Spider Colonies— Darwin's View Examined Accidental As- semblage— S(|uatter Sovereignty A Cellar Colony \ Camp of Juveniles Young AVater Spiders The Spiderlings Pick-a-liack— The Turret S|iider's Young \ young Tower Builder Follow the Leader The Young of Atypus Nurture in the Nest Young Tarantulas— Young Trapdoor Builders Nest Development— Marvels of In- stinct— Dew covered Webs Character Habits Innate 20(1-255





Flying Spiders Velocity of Flight Attitude of the Aeronautic Spider Frolicsome Spi- derlings In the Air Controlling the Descent The Height of Ascents Filiating Gossamer Aeronautic Orbweavers Flossy Balloons Modes of Ballooning— Aerial Navigation— The Huntsman Spider Around the World by the Trade Winds Spi- ders at Sea Distribution of Species— Gossamer Showers Their Origin Dr. .Tona- than Edwards His bovish Studies of Spider Life— Professor Silliman's Tribute . 2-5()-:i82





Spider's Eyes Ocellus— Structure of Eyes Orbs made in the Dark Cocouning in the Dark— Sighting Prey Night Habits Color of Eyes Night Eyes and Day Eyes Atrophy of Eyes— Cave Fauna Sensitive to Light— Limited Vision Good Sight in Saltigrades— Ijubbock's Experiments Eye Turrets— Eye Tubercles Sense of Smell The Peckhams' Experiments Olfactory Organs Sen.se of Hearing— Organs of Hear- ing— Effects of Sound A Disgusted Spider Communication by Touch Sensitive- ness to Music Atfi-acted by a Lute The Violin Beethoven and the Spider .\ Natural Explanation -Auditory Hairs Wagner's Studies Are Spiders Mute? A INlale Love Call Stridulating Crustaceans Scorpions— Westring's Discoverie.s Strid- ulating Theridioids— How Sounds are ^lade Mygale stridulans Uses of Stridula- tion— Mute Mygale— How Tarantula Strikes 28:!-3-.i2



Facts of Spider Colors Beautiful Spiders Attoid Jewels Metallic Hues Colors of the Shamrock Spider Color Development in Young Color and Sex Moulting Influ- ences— Colors of Age Effects of Muscular Action Influence of Sex Color Con- sciousness— Climatic Influences Influence of Environment Mimetic Harmonies- Color of Cave Spiders Bleached by Sunlight Color Utility Industrial Compensa- tions— Warning Colors Unconscious of Danger Color Consciousness C'olor Sense of Spiders Spiders prefer Red Minucry and Colors Cocoon Colors Prevailing Spider Colors— Color of Silk— Metallic Hues— Color Scales 323-351




Industrial Jlimicry Cutting Ants Jlimetic Trapdoors Self Protection Trajxloor Architecture Moggridge and his Trapdoor Spiders Tree Trapdo(_irs Form Mimi- cry of Animals Ant like Spider.s Value of .slight Variation Darwin's Tlieory Sight of Birds Birds eating Ants English Game Birds at Linton Park The


Great Ant Thrush Raiding the Driver Ants Are Wasps Miniiekeil '.' Ants eat Spiders Form Mimicry of Environment Tetragnatlia extensa Miiuiel<ing Knots and Ends Color Mimicry Amliusli in Flowers— JNIisumena vatia Mimicking AVild Flowers English Mimics ^Mimicking Bark and the Ground Natural Selection and Mimicry INIctallic Colors Cocoon Mimicry Cyclosa caudata and her Cocoon Young Mimics A Savage's Decoration— Protective Resemblance 352-:!77



Perils of Spiders Season Changes— Animal Destroyers— Rats eat Spiders— Sheep also— Cannibalism Goethe on Roliber Wasps— The Mud Dauber's Nest— The Blue Wasp hawking for Spiders— A Waspling Larva at work Wasp Poison— The Cicada Wasp Pijjes of Pan The Tarantula Killer Special Selection Characteristics of Captives Social AVasps Nest Parasitism The Pirate Spider A Spider Feud Spider Duels Body Parasites^Parasites on Eggs Saltigrade Guests Parasitized Cocoons Mold, Flies, and Birds Foolishly Hostile jMan Ai'achne as a Forest Keeper Arachne a Philanthropist Influence of Enemies on Industry Moulting Tents— Climate Covers Self Protective Industry— The Tiger Spider and her Bower Elis 4-notata The Burial of Lycosa Lycosa tarentula Trapdoor Spi- ders— Strange Towers and their Builders Seci'et Chambers in the Earth— A new Use of the Abdomen Shaping the Cocoon o7.s-4I,S



The Decline of Argiope Fashions of Death First Stages of Mortality Sexta's Death Record Death after Cocooning I^imit of Life Lubliock's old Ant Queen The oldest Spider— Tarantula's Age— ^^'inter Habits Winter Dens— Winter Tents- Hunting on the Snow Hibernation Sudden Resuscitation— Death Feigning— Not Fear Paralysis, but 'Possuming The Peckhams' Studies Wonderful Shamming A Spider Stoic— Darwin's View Origin of Death Feigning Voluntary Hypnotism among Jlen Pur]iose of the Habit Fabi'e's Studies 419— 14.5




Sites of American Fossils Scudder's Studies Lake Florissant Cause of Entombment Manner of Entombment— Volcanic Showers Oeningen Spider.s— Fossil Nephila— Climatic Conditions— European Fossil Spiders Fossil and Existing Fauna— The Oldest known Spider Eoatypus woodwardii Fossil Tunnelweavers Geological Position of American Fossil Spiders Fossil Spinningwork Fossil Cocoons The- ridiosoma Cocoon Unmodified Industry The Amber Tree— Sources of Amber Amber Land Amber Bay Trees running Amber Deep Sea Storehouses Break- ing up the Storehouses Cellmate of Andjer Land— Insect Food of Amber Spiders Spiders of the Andier Archea paradoxa Embalming Amber Insects A Romance of Amber Land 44(i-t69



Fai'iiifr pufie 48. See Chapter XI., page 32(i.

Pl.vte II. MiMK'UY OF Knviuonme.nt Ti!.\Fnooi! Spiders. Faeiuf; page 128. See Chapter XII., jiages 358, 354.

Plate III. MniirKV of Exviuoxmext.

Facing page 1!)2. See Chapter XII., page 366, sij.

Plate IV. Colors of Spiders .\xd their CbfooNs. Facing page 288. See Chapter XL, page 323.

Plate V. Some Hymenopterous EneiMIes of Spiders.

Facing page 368. See Chapter XIII., page 383, ski.



Toilet Habits— Toik-t Iniiilcinfuts— Toilet Methotls— Ilrtir-dressinK the Feet— The Tarantula's Toilet— Coiiiparecl with Ants House Cleaninfj Workin;;- from a Swiufiinf;' Platform Peril of I'ntidiness— Purseweb Sjiider's Cleanliness— Drinking Habits— Tarantula at the Bowl Lugginij Drops of Mist— Drinkiiif;- the Dew Swaying the Body Pholeus as a Dervish— Xight Habits— Prowling— Sitting in the Hub Water Habits— Rafting Dolo- medes— Burrowing Methods The Tiger Spider— Turret Spiiler— Tarantula's Piek and W'heell.iarrow Tigrina's Courtship Mating of Dietyna ])hiloteiehous INIoulting Haliits in various Tribes— Wagner's Notes Renewal of Lost Linitis— The Process Descrilied Weather Pi-ognostication- Stories ami Traditions Records of Several Years— Arachne as a "\\'eather " Indicator"— Superstitions about Spiders— (lood Luck Money-spinners- Spi- der Silk— Its Use in the Arts— Its Economii-d \'alue.






I. Thkre is nothing in the Ufe history of spiders that seems to me more mysterious and wonderful than tlie faculty by which the male finds the female to fulfill his office in Nature and fertilize the eggs. Over all diffi- culties an<l distance, through the midst often of a multitude of

Tne Mys- individuals of various families and genera, and with apparently

tftrv of . . *" .

1^ .. unfailing accuracy, the males of the several species find their

api)ropriate mates.

It is impossible to determine definitely how wide is the circuit over which is scattered any single brood of s})iderlings after its cxode from the cocoon. Circumstances may confine all the individuals to a comparatively narrow si^ace. More commonly, perhaps, through the aeronautic habit, by the agency of passing winds, they are dispersed throughout a wide region. Under ordinary circumstances, at least, the space is practically impassible by spiders whose habits are as sedentary as those of Orbweavers. Yet such is the power of the marital sense, and so strong and true the guidance of sexual feeling, thatj over all barriers of environment the male reaches his proper consort. As far as I know, he never makes a mistake by falling u[ion the web of an alien species. At all events, if such error occurs, he knows enougli to promptly turn away.

The partner whom the Orbweaver gallant seeks is commonly seated in a well isolated nest, or at the hub of her snare, separated by a distance of several inches from him as he travels over the leaves, twigs, and '^^■'^ _ other material upon which the foundations of the orb are hung.

^ , r. (See Fig. 1.) The errant lover's difficulty in finding a mate must His Mate certainly be increased by this fact, for in his cautious aj^isroaches he is not able to draw very near, but must determine through a distance relatively great the question of identity: "Is this a partner of my species or not?" He touches the outer foundation line of the orb, and determines the question from that position. If he is satisfied, he settles near or upon the web, and awaits the issue of his courtship.

And now, how has he determined, simply from contact with the snare spun by his chosen sjjouse, that this is the indivi<lual whom he .seeks?



What trace has the female left of her identity? By what subtle influence does she attract her wooer to settle in her vicinity? By what strange responsive power does he know the signs, and discern tliat his mate and the mating hour are nigh V There is no fact in the life of spiders that has struck me with greater force as an unsolved mystery of Nature than this. I have no suggestions to offer in answer of the queries raised, but proceed to give such facts about the pairing of spiders as have passed under my observation, and. been gathered from the records of others.

To arachnologists such studies are of special value. In the systematic grouping of spiders, among the characters to which later students give greatest force are the_ distinctive organs of the male and female. The characters of the palp on the one, and the epigynum on the other, dom- inate tlie decisions by which species are determined. It is certainly reason- able to infer that if the external forms of these organs are of such con- trolling value in determining species, the use of the organs, or, in other words, the manner of pairing, might be expected to show characteristic differences. In point of fact we so find it ; and the reader will be able to determine how closely the one may correspond with the other. I venture to add the suggestion that habits which stand at the very gates of life must have especial value in the natural history of such creatures as we are studying, and no artificial delicacy should turn aside the st>i<lent.

It seems probable that fewer male spiders than females are hatched from the eggs ; or, tliat fewer reach the adult state. At least, one finds not only in collections, but in field observations, that females Males commonly greatly outnumber males. It would follow that one ^®^^" male spider probably serves as gallant for several females, a

Fewer species of polygamy which reminds us of the barnyard chanti- cleer. This fact, as has been said,i would indicate that the peril which an aranead husband is commonly supposed to undergo during courtship has been considerably exaggerated by writers. According to De Geer, in his observation upon Ijinyphia montana, a single male sutfices for many females, to whom he jiays his respects consecutively in the same hour.'-^ Mr. Campbell saw one male in union with three females of Tege- naria guyonii during twenty days in August.'^ Professor Peckham records similar facts among the Saltigrades. Thorell speaks of the male as "the rarer sex,"* and Darwin was informed l)y Blackwall that males are more numerous than females with a few species, but that the reverse appears to be the case out of several species in six genera. On tlie other hand, Mr. Campbell captured ten spiderlings of Tegenaria and found that seven of them showed the swollen palps of the immature male.^

' Eiiiile Blanchard, quoted from Revue des Deux Mondes in " Popular Rc-ience," Octo- ber, 1888. ^ Vide Walck., Apteres, Vol. II., page 411, suppl.

■' Linn. See. .Tour. Zool., A'ol. XVII., "Pairing- of Tegenaria guyonii," page 1(17. * "On European Spiders," page 2U5. ' "Pairing of Teg. guyonii," page 108.



Fig. 1. Snare and nest of the Shamrock spider. The orb, nest, and surroundings show the field of courtship among Epeiroids.



It is perhaps not strange that there should be such wide differences of opinion, since the conclusions are based chiefly upon the indications of collections. Now, in Nature, the males show themselves in great- ^^ est numbers at the pairing period. Tliey appear to mature a

Matinff little earlier than the females, and their solicitations have begun even before there is reasonable hope for favorable response. Thus, at this particular time they may be found by a collector more readily than at any other, and would show in larger numbers in his col- lection. As most males disap- pear shortly after maturing, and are probably not long lived, while the female survives until after cocooning, collections made after the mating time would be lack- ing in males.

I have seen four males of the Banded and three- of the Bas- ket Argiope respective- ly hanging at the same time upon the margin of one female's snare. I have observed two and three males of tlie Labyrintli spider waiting in tlie outer courts of the habitation of the female of that species, and the same number of the Insular spider ranged near the leafy bow- er of my lady Insularis. I have seen two males of Agalena nsevia approaching at one time the door of their lady's silken chamber, although it must be said that one of them promptly ran away when

Fk:. 2. Males of Argiope cophinaria courting U>e female. ^^^ ^^^^^^^^ ^j^,^^ j^ j^ j..^,.^^ j^,_^^^ ^^^^^^

nearer tlian he. It is not unlikely that many females deposit their eggs without previous fertilizing ; at all events, I have frequently found cocoons containing infertile eggs. But in the long run, in view of such facts as the above, it is scarcely to be (Questioned that Nature, who always knows how to hold an even balance in the product of her living creatures, pro-

Several Gallants.

vides a master for every mate.


The males of Argiope begin to mature about the middle of July, and they anticipate somewhat the maturity of the female. They may be found



at this period occasionally occupying separate webs, but more frequently domesticated upon the orb of the female, upon which several will be found

congregated. For exami)le, in a clump of grasses I found the

The ^yg|^ g^1J^ ap2:)arently mature female, to whom three males were

. paying attention. Two of the males were established upon the

Qpg outer margins of the female's snare, upon small rudimentary

webs. The third had built a separate snare immediately behind

the female. There he hung in the usual position at the hub, which was

covered with light straggling lines, a kind of imitation of the ordinary

shield. Above and below were two

faint, irregularly formed ribbons, mere

suggestions of the beautiful ribbon

spun by the female. This snare had

about twenty-one radii and twelve or

thirteen spirals beaded apparently in

the ordinary way. The web was about

four inches' in length and about two

inches wide.

On the same day several males

were found on separate webs. These

webs are ordinarily quite ru- Snare of t , t ,,

Male Ar- <^^i"ientary. In one the upper

g-iope. P'^"'^ consisted principally of a mass of straggling lines somewhat resembling a shield of the female when it is first spun. The lower part had ten radii concentrated upon the hub and all of them crossed by beaded interradials. The occupant hung to the upper part of his snare and stretched his legs over the lower part. The snare in width was little greater than the spider's length meas- ured from the tip of the hind legs to the feet of the fore legs. In other \v'ords, he spanned his entire web.

Another and similar male snare was found spun into the protective wings of a mature female snare. A figure of this rudimentary web is given. (Fig. 3.) On the whole, my observations justify the conclusion that after the male sj^ider matures, the character of his web is rudimentary, after the manner above described and sketched. Previous to that period he ap- pears to form the characteristic web of the species, quite like young females. In the immature state, the male Argiope differs from the mature individ- ual ; it then resembles more closely the female in shape and the markings upon its back. Indeed, at first glance, it would be taken for a young female.

Fig. 3. Male Argiope cophinaria upon his snare.


In other species the conditions of male spinningwork are different. For example, I found, ^ in a grove of young oak trees, a number of males of Epeira insularis established in nests, and with perfect orbs spread Snare and i^e^eath them. The nests were well sewed, and like those of y^ , the females, which were numerous in the vicinity. The orbs

Insularis. were also perfect, and of the typical sort. These males were mature ; some had their nests built close to those of females, upon whom they were evidently in attendance. In several cases two and three males were seen in the same neighborhood, occupying nests or hang- ing about the margins of the same female's snare.

One male of Argiope cophinaria was found on the same day (Avigust 28tli), which had spun a tolerably perfect snare twelve inches behind the orb of a mature female. This snare had twenty-eight radii and nine spirals, and the flanks were protected by wings or fenders of the tyi)ical sort heretofore described. ^ Thus, there appears to be a striking difference in the character of the web made by the male of this species and that woven by the male Insularis. In Cophinaria the orb is certainly not per- fect after tlie type of the species, but in Insularis it appears in every re- spect to conform to the type, as does also the leafy nest or tent. It may be added, as perhaps throwing some light upon such a difference, that the male Insularis is a larger and more formidable animal than the male Cophinaria, and relatively much more equal in size and strength to his mate.


The first stages of courtship have already been indicated. Having found

the snare of his partner, the male Orbweaver stations himself upon the

outer border and awaits results. It is not difficult for him to

First communicate his presence. Indeed, he must take his place deftly

ages o ^^^^ keep it quietly ujjon the snare, or he will quickly bring

ship. down upon him the voracious lady of the house. A touch of

his claw upon a radius would telegraph to the female the fact

of his presence; and I believe, from what I have seen of the operations

of the male in this preliminary courtship, as well as from the recorded

observations of others,^ that he does thus intimate his i^resence, and that

the first stages of the engagement are consummated by these telegrai:)hic

communications back and forth between male and female over the delicate

filaments of the silken snare.

If matters be favorable, the male draws nearer, usually by short ap- proaches, renewing the signals at the halting places. Sometimes this pre- liminary stay is brief ; sometimes it is greatly prolonged. I have known it to be continued during several days, in which the male would patiently

' August 28th, Niantic, Connecticut. ' Vol. I., chapter vi., page 105, Fig. 96.

^ See the statements of Walckenaer, Menge, and Emerton, further on.



wait sometimes, but not always, changing his position until his advances were favorably received, or were so decidedly repulsed that he was com- pelled to retire. With Labyrinth spiders I have generally seen the male stationed upon the maze, or that part of the snare which consists of crossed lines. Here he would make for himself, as he hung back down- ward, a little dome of spinningwork, which spread above him .°^®. like a miniature umbrella. (Fig. 4.) The male of Argiope cophinaria feels the web with his feet for some timei before the final approach. The male of Linyijhia marginata, as he cautiously approaches, pulls upon the threads connecting his own with his lady's bower. '^ The male of Epei-

Love Signals

ra diademata commences his courtship by touching with one leg a thread of his lady's web.^

Professor Peckham's ob- servation upon the courtship

of Argiope coph- Argiope's inaria is to the

same effect. When

advancing towards the female, the male seems to pause and pull at the strands of the web, as though to no- tify her of his approach. When he comes toward her from the front she imparts a slight motion to the web with her legs, wliicli seems to serve as a warning, as he either moves away or drops out of the web. When he comes from behind, she pays no attention to him until he begins to creep up on her body, when she slowly raises one of her long legs and brushes him off.

The same author watched the successive and unsuccessful approaches of three males who were paying their court to a female Argiope argyraspis. The warning vibration of the web as the males approached was noted in this species also, and Professor Peckham believed that the female recog- nized from the character of the vibration the advent of a male, distin- guishing the movement of the lines from that made by a struggling

1 Emerton, " Habits and Structure," page 87.

2 See my description of the pairing, hereafter.

3 Termeyer : Proceedings Essex Institute, Vol. I., page 71.

Fig. 4. Three male Labyrinth spiders in attendance upon a female. The fe- male is the upper figure, in the nest.


insect entangled in the meshes of the snare. ^ Of this there can be no doubt, the female appears to be always conscious of the presence of a male of her species, as distinguished from all other intruders.


The period of approach or courtship is generally terminated by a sud- den rush, which brings the partners into union. The advances, as far as I know, are made by the male ; rarely by the female directly, The Ley- _^^ least. They are not always received with favor; and it is undoubtedly true that the male is sometimes sorely put to it to make his escape from the premises of an unresponsive female, and occa- sionally prosecutes his amours at the cost of life. Menge, in the course of his experimental observations, lost many males, after feeding them un- til mature, by introducing them into a cylinder containing females.'^ Ter- meyer records, with a " surprise and indignation " which seems refreshing to modern observers, that a male Diadem spider, after the act of union with the female, was attacked by his spouse, and, happening to be in such close quarters that he could not escape, was deliberately enveloped in her threads and devoured.^

I have watched this point with great interest in the experimental colo- nies upon my vines. Many males of Argiope cophinaria have been found trussed up and suspended on the snares of females upon whom I had seen them in attendance but a little while before. Two males were thus de- stroyed by the same female in one day. In some cases the males would be tolerated for several days, even though they hung quite near, and then, without any apparent reason, would be suddenly found killed and hung up in silken bonds close by my lady's bed at the hub of her orb. In the.se cases there can be no doubt that the female knew the character of her visitor during all his stay. Any other creature thus intruding would at once have been attacked. The amatory feeling was evidently strong enough to tolerate her lover's presence for several days, but not sufficiently warm to encourage the further advances which he made, and which cost . him his life.

One female was attended for a number of days by a male who kept near and just above her, often feeling her gently with his fore legs. I sui)posed the female to be mature, but could not decide without capturing her. However, I one day found her moulting, apparently the last moult preceding complete maturity. A few hours after the moult I found my patient gallant trussed up and hanging close by his lady love, who had not deigned to eat him. (Fig. 5.) In spider world, at least, it would sometimes seem an ill advised action to "haste to the wedding." I have,

1 Sexual Selection in Spiders, page 55. ' Preussische Spinnen.

^ Proceedings Essex Institute.



Fig. 5. Female Argiope \vith a fresh moult and slaughtered mate hanging to her web.


but less frequentlj^, noted similar treatment of the male Insularis by his mate. He is better equipped for taking care of himself than the male Cophinaria, ])ut, nevertheless, sometimes pays the penalty of his rashness and importunity.

Notwithstanding the above facts, I have reasofi to know that matters are sometimes reversed, and the female is the victim of the cannibal ap- petite of the male. Among my own specimens, for example, I jj . have had a male of the Furrow spider, which was enclosed in a

Females, h^^ along with two females, satisfy his hunger by devouring one of his partners. Baron Walckenaer saw a male of Epeira incli- nata take advantage of a female of his species, which was not able to stir without difficulty, being full of eggs, to attack, garrote, and eat her.^

Mr. Campbell obsei'ved the male of Tegenaria guyonii destroying the female. Of one pair which he placed together, the male at once began to pay his addresses. Shortly afterward he rapidly applied one of his palps to the female, in the manner elsewhere described, and, apparently, with her consent. Five hours afterward he charged his partner, tore away two legs below the trochanter, and began to suck one, using the mandibles to hold the limb, just as a human being would a stick of asparagus. The female died an hour afterward. This female lacked one moult of being mature; but her killing cannot be explained by her supposed sexual incapability, for Mr. Campbell says he saw two males similarly dismember their spouses an hour after union. Hunger could not have been the cause of this feroc- ity, for they were well fed. In fact, males in confinement take their food much better than females, which may be due to tlieir being accustomed to feed, during their sexual excursions, in places which are strange to them. Only twice did Mr. Campbell see a female of Tegenaria drive the male away. In both cases this occurred immediately after union. On the other hand, as illustrating the difference which individual disposition or circum- stances may produce, the same observer kept together an adult pair of this species from the 22d of August to the 28th of October, more than two months, and they lived in perfect unity. The male never ceased paying unrequited attentions, except to feed.^

Excepting one spider, Argyroneta aquatica, whose male is larger than his mate, all those found in Great Britain have the female either equal in size to, or else larger than, the male. (See Figs. 9, 10.) The Relative difference, however, between the sexes in these northern regions Sexes ^^ "*^^ carried to the extreme limits which are frequently reached in the tropics. For example, Nephila chrysogaster Walck., an almost universally distributed tropical Epeiroid, measures two inches in length of body, while that of the male scarcely exceeds one-tenth of an inch, and is less than one thirteen-hundredth part of her weight. In other

' Apteres, I., page 143. ^ Pairing of Tegenaria guyonii, page 168.





words, the female is twenty times as long and thirteen hundred times as heavy as her partner.^ Dr. Vinson ^ strikingly represents this disparity of size in the species Nephila nigra (Vinson), which is here presented, (Fig. 6), with both sexes natural size. A full grown female of our Basket Argiope bears about the relative laroportion to the size of her male, of a horse to a large dog. The largest female Argiope measures in body length one inch, in spread of legs three inches. Her abdomen is thick in pro- portion. A male has a body length of one-fourth inch, the spread of legs being one inch and a quarter. Fig. 14 will show the relative body lengths and sizes of the sexes of Argiope cophinaria.

This disproportion, however, in the size of the sexes is not universal. In some species, as will be found by a reference to the plates in Volume III., tlie difference is slight, and, indeed, is sometimes on the side of the male, even among Orbweavers, as in the case of Ei^eira strix. Moreover, the males have relatively longer and apparently more powerful legs than the female. The increased length must be serviceable in the preliminary courtship, when the males stand off and solicit or test the feeling of their mates by touclies of the fore feet. These features are also beneficial in clasping their mates during amatory em- brace, and must add to their muscular vigor both in conflict and retreat. This difference in tlie legs, I have no doubt, fully compensates for difference in body size in the case of many species. Especially is this true in the case of the Wan- derers, with the exception, perliaps, of some of the Thom- isoids. Moreover, the legs of some Orbweavers are armed with formidable weapons in rows of strong spines arranged Fig. 7. Tibial spines, aloug the iuucr surfacc of the tibia. (Fig. 7, Tibial spines (After Emerton.) ^f Epeira domiciUoruni, a, and Epeira trivittata, b.)

There is also a difference in size among the individuals of any one

species. I have found females (Epeira vertebrata) quite mature, making

cocoons, who were scarcely more than half as large as others of