Asian orb spider Mildred is going to be a mum at the Blue Planet Aquarium
Delighted keepers at Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks are celebrating after Mildred, their Asian orb spider, laid hundreds of tiny nymphs.
It’s the first time the Malabar orb spider has reproduced successfully at the aquarium and staff are hopeful a large number of the newborn spiderlings will survive in to adulthood.
Orb spiders are famed for their architectural prowess and can construct large aerial webs that can measure up to a metre in height, depending on the size of the spider.
The intricately-designed webs have a tubular retreat connected to the hub which allows the spider to escape when faced with threats.
Blue Planet Aquarium’s James Dale said: “We’re all extremely pleased that Mildred has managed to breed successfully.
“Reproduction among spiders is a tricky business as the males, which are much smaller than the females, often don’t survive the encounter as the females do have an alarming tendency to eat them before they have the chance to mate.”
He added: “The males have to choose their moment and approach the female while she is eating or otherwise occupied and then make a quick getaway if they don’t want to end up on the menu.”
Like many spider species there is a massive size differential between males and females. The female can be up to 30 millimetres long while the male is usually only three to five millimetres in length.
The Malabar spider gets its name from the fact it was first identified in south India on the Malabar coast although it is also found from Sri Lanka and the Philippines to China and Japan.
The spiders are often found living in houses and other buildings as well as in the entrances to caves. Although the spiders use a venomous bite to paralyse their prey they are not dangerous to humans.