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October 9th, 2008 - I'll take mine to go

Ahh, time like a river. Or maybe it's time that is stopped and we are moving past, I can't tell. Beyond all that, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a much pregnant-looking cellar spider (misnomered by the uninitiated as a "Daddy-Long-legs", or further bludgeoned as "Dandy-Long-legs" which is actually the name of two different non-spiders: the Harvestmen (arachnid), and the Crane Fly (insect)). However, this little lady lives in the family Pholcidae and seems to be dining on a snack-sack containing another spider (boyfriend?)
If you look closely you can see the hair on the poor guy's legs. Didn't even get time to clean up before he was dinner.

I understand it isn't all that unusual for this brood to feed on other spiders. Wiki P says, "Certain species of these seemingly benign spiders invade webs of other spiders and eat the host, the eggs or the prey. In some cases the spider vibrates the web of other spiders, mimicking the struggle of trapped prey to lure the host of the web closer."

Playing you like a harp.

Also, "Pholcids are natural predators of the Tegenaria species, and it is this competition that helps keep Tegenaria populations in check, which may be advantageous to humans who live in regions with dense hobo spider populations." That would be our basement.
I've seen this too: "When the spider is threatened by a touch to the web or when too large a prey becomes entangled, the spider vibrates rapidly in a gyrating motion in its web and becomes blurred, almost invisible. For this reason pholcids have sometimes been called "vibrating spiders", although they are not the only species to exhibit this behavior. "
They can really wind it up, but this one was much too interested in supping to risk loosing her lunch.
My thought as I was trying to get closer for a pic was, "Do spiders poop?" Well, of course they do, it's one of the requirements for a living thing, but to "eat" most of them pretty much just inject their venom and let it dissolve the innards of their prey, either sucking them down like a chocolate shake or saving them for later as a glass of warm milk before bedtime.

So my thought was that they don't really eat a lot of solid food, (well, there are bird-killing spiders, but I think it goes pretty much the same) so it must be mostly a liquid poo then or a little gob of what they don't need? Do they drink water with a meal, or are they getting a full liquid lunch?

What I found out was that, "Spider 'poop' ranges from black through pinkish tan to whitish and comes in small drops. It is waste from the digestion of food. (Um, duh.) Spiders do not have separate urine and feces, and their droppings consist largely of guanine, which is a component of DNA and found in all living things." What goes around, comes around I guess.
Makes sense that they would have their poop in a combo package. Just another gold star for efficiency, while we mammals are just so, ah cumbersome. What a bunch of dorks.
Interestingly enough, in the cosmetics industry, crystalline guanine is used as an additive to various products (e.g., shampoo), where it provides a pearly iridescent effect. It is also used in metallic paints and simulated pearls and plastics. It provides shimmering luster to eye shadow and nail polish.
Hence the Spider-woman effect.

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