WHIP SPIDERS CONTINUED…
Over the years my female tailless whip scorpions have had anywhere between 30 and 57 babies within a single clutch. On a couple of occasions I have been fortunate enough to capture the moment very soon after the babies have left their mothers’ abdomens:
The unusual looking pale pink mass at the end of the female’s abdomen below is all of the old exoskeletons (exuviae) which the babies leave behind after they have moulted or removed them. You can see them more clearly here, along with one baby who had yet to moult at this point:
Here are just a few of these moulted exoskeletons or exuviae, looking more like something out of a science fiction film or maybe a portion of crispy noodles!!
After moulting for the first time the babies look very different from how they look when newly-hatched as you can see here, with beautiful patterns and colouration too!
This next picture shows very clearly just how amazingly long their front ‘feeling’ legs are, even as tiny babies!
Here are the majority (but not all) of 95 babies which hatched way back in February 2014, of which 44 were Kate’s babies and 51 Kate Jr’s!
From this point onwards they are independent and able to fend and feed for themselves, although they are quite sociable creatures and are known to sometimes live together in family groups consisting of animals of different ages, at least until they reach maturity. Here are just a few babies exploring their new home:
Within 5-6 weeks of hatching the babies moult again and look a lot more like their parents already!
The next picture is of a recently-moulted individual (on the right) next to its siblings which have not yet moulted, showing the impressive size difference which the moulting process brings about!
By three months old the babies have grown and changed considerably as you can see below!
Here is a comparison of a newly-hatched baby next to one of its five month old siblings!
At just over six months old they have grown much larger still as you can see here, it is really hard to refer them as ‘babies’ once they get so large!
Here are three of the exoskeletons moulted by the ‘babies’ six months after hatching:
Here is a picture of a female from my first ever batch of babies on its first birthday, February 20th 2012!
For even more amazing whip spider pictures, including moulting pictures, please click HERE!