As a frequent board game friend says after making a move he shouldn’t have: “mistakes have been made”. I was on holiday last week. I shouldn’t have been. But there we have it.
Furthermore, my days have been taken over (and continue to be occupied) by teaching that I wasn’t told I was meant to be teaching.
On top of that, I’ve been doing night observations for the last couple nights and everything feels like breakfast-time*
But, on a more positive note, I’ve now seen Cambridgea foliata males fighting and I’m becoming more certain that mating probably occurs inside the female’s retreats. I took a terrible video of it which does nothing but illustrate the potential duration of the conflict (>2 minutes which is longer than I can maintain a one-to-one battle to the death/eviction).
So imagine instead with my crudely drawn visual aids. There’s a large web and a male C. foliata sitting at the retreat (who knows why). The female is visible but seems to be sitting off the main sheet. (By the way, imagine that everything is done with the spiders hanging upside down).
The second male chases the first male around the web for about 20 seconds.
Eventually, the fleeing male turned and the two started…pushing at each other with their first and second legs.
During this time, the males had their chelicerae pushed apart and fangs out. They also held their pedipalps vertically (possibly to keep them out of the way of the fighting).
After a couple minutes of this scuffling, they eventually went head to head proper for about ten seconds.
After this brief time, the loser (the resident) moved away from the intruder and the retreat and towards the edge of the web. The latter began to bang his abdomen on the sheet web with the successive beats driving the loser further from the web until he was eventually right at the edge.
Within a few minutes, the new resident took up the position that the first male had taken at the mouth of the female’s retreat.
The moral of the story: Legs are hard to draw
* I hate breakfast