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Trichonephila clavipes Indoor Setup?

Discussion in 'Other Spiders & Arachnids' started by Ungoliant, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    We had an early freeze last night, and in the morning, I went to check on the three last Trichonephila clavipes (ex Nephila clavipes) in the neighborhood. One was clearly dead, as I found her headless abdomen on the ground about a foot or two away from her web.

    The other two looked dead, so I collected them from their tattered webs. The second showed no signs of life, but the third started clinging to my hand. I brought them home, intending to warm up the third spider, and then the second spider (pictured below) also revived.

    I don't want to simply place them back outside, as it will have made the rescue pointless, merely a prolonging of their fate. If possible, I'd like to see them through the winter and release them in the spring. (I know that in the tropical parts of their range, they can live for 2-3 years.)

    Does anyone who has kept Nephila or Trichonephila have any advice for how to set them up indoors? I know they like a lot of space, but we have limited space here. What's the smallest mesh setup they'll build a web in?
  2. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    I had mine in a mesh cage that's roughly 36"x36"x18" - but they might be able to go smaller. I did notice that instead of one big web spanning the entire cage, there were multiple smaller webs at various angles to each other. The hard part was feeding them - crickets did not stay in the webs very well, and I had trouble getting enough flies and moths for them. (I'd arranged to pick up some blue bottle pupae from one of the vendors at a show - but they arrived dead, and it was too hot to have anything shipped.)
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  3. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Thanks! Did you have any luck with roaches? (I've fed roaches to wild ones before.)
  4. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    I tried them a couple of times, but had trouble getting them to stay in the webs.
  5. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    They're larger than Nephila madagascariensis so not sure how small you could go. I keep Nephila madagascariensis in a 12 inch long/wide by 18 inch tall and they build webs. If you have a warm room you could let her build a web in the open.

    Crickets are a pain in the arse for not "sticking" in the web. I usually crush their heads and place the cricket in with tongs. You can make sure you get the legs trapped then. Plus they still kick.
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  6. mantisfan101

    mantisfan101 Arachnoprince Active Member

    I know that quite a lot of mantis breeders use blue bottle fleis so you can go on websites like mantidkingdom.com or panterrapets.com and get some flies there. You can also keep hornworms and see if they’ll pupate but this may take a while.
  7. The Snark

    The Snark Dumpster Fire of the Gods Old Timer

    Moths. Moths. Moths. Stay in the web, the perfect food.
  8. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    Moths have dust on their wings to escape a spider's web. There's even a spider who builds a ladder web to purposely catch moths. Then there's the Bolas spider.

    I'm not typing moths won't get caught but they're designed not to.
  9. mantisfan101

    mantisfan101 Arachnoprince Active Member

    Also, green banana roaches or male red runners would also work.
  10. RezonantVoid

    RezonantVoid Hollow Knight Arachnosupporter

    Haven't had Clavipes but I have raised a beautiful Nephila Edulis sling to adulthood, from what I can tell in your photo both species are close to the same adult size. I just had her in some exoterra cubic enclosure with a mesh top (can't remember exact dimensions but its around the 600mm sides mark), and just put alot of branches on the sides and back. I was only young at the time so I don't think I even bothered giving her substrate, but she did fantastic and although she looked a bit big for it after a few months, she never seemed stressed and was a great eater all the way up until her release back into the wild. I guess they like ALOT of ventilation since they are normally in the trees and the mesh lid provides alot of airflow as well as anchor points. If you are planning on using such an enclosure, make sure to either introduce her on the mesh ceiling or have at least one branch touching it so she can make anchor points above the web.

    Interesting, in a contrast to what's above, I never had any issues feeding her crickets, and they always stuck to the web fine
    • Like Like x 1
  11. mmcguffi

    mmcguffi Arachnopeon

    Ive successfully kept a Trichonephila clavipes in this setup before. I based the dimensions off of academic articles I could find where T. clavipes were raised either in the lab, or with a frame around them in nature. I had no problems with crickets, and the odd wild moth/other flying insect I just tossed in
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    My husband built me two large enclosures (each about 4 feet long and no smaller than 2 feet at the shortest dimension) out of screen and PVC pipe and strung natural fiber strings throughout them as anchor points. We hung the enclosures at the ceiling to keep them out of our way and turned on a fan that circulates air in the room to encourage webbing.

    One of them already looks to be making the beginning of a web; the other is exploring. Hopefully they'll both settle in and be ready for feeding soon. I'd love to be able to release them in the spring.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Love Love x 1
  13. mmcguffi

    mmcguffi Arachnopeon

    That sounds like a fantastic enclosure — I would love to see pictures.

    Also, I am curious where you are in the US — Southern Florida? I’m in Central Texas and even the populations of T. clavipes near the coast in Texas are annual from what I can tell
  14. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    They don't seem to mind that it's barren, given that they often span large distances and attach to buildings.

    I live in coastal South Carolina. We get some freezing weather every winter, which kills the banana spiders if temperatures drop well below freezing, if slightly freezing temperatures persist, or there is a lot of cold rain.

    I had read in scientific literature that they live for 2-3 years in the tropical parts of their range.
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    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Update on my girls:

    Dagny, the one that I thought was dead, regularly works on her web and feeds. (It's not the most elaborate web, like the ones with barrier webs that you see in the wild, but it gets the job done.)

    Dominque, the one that immediately showed signs of life, did build a bit of a web and take prey the first time I fed her, but since then, she hasn't webbed much and doesn't seem interested in the prey I hang in her "web."
    • Like Like x 1
  16. mmcguffi

    mmcguffi Arachnopeon

    Does Dagny (or Dominque for that matter) make a stereotypical orb web? ie with radii, hub, etc -- or is it more amorphous and ratty? I haven't be able to figure out why sometimes orb weavers make bad webs in captivity, and sometimes perfect webs
  17. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Dagny's web is an orb, but it's smaller than the ones in the wild, and it is not surrounded by the barrier webs.

    Dominique's "web" is just lines she laid down here and there.
  18. Ungoliant

    Ungoliant Malleus Aranearum Staff Member

    Update: Sadly, I lost both spiders at the beginning of the year. With the first, it wasn't much of a surprise, because after the first bit of webbing and feeding, she wouldn't build a web and hardly ate.

    But the second had been going strong up until a few days before her death, so I am wondering if the ones in our area just have a shorter lifespan than their kin in the tropics.
  19. mmcguffi

    mmcguffi Arachnopeon

    That has been my general experience with all of the orb weavers I have kept (all locally caught). I would love to get a female T. clavipes specimen from their tropical distribution
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