I came across this cluster of baby spiders while hiking the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. It is a good thing I don’t have Arachnophobia because this would be scary for someone that does.
These baby spiders were in a tighter group when I first spotted them. I accidentally touched one of the plants they were attached to while trying to make a photograph. They started spreading out on the web, but came back together after a while.
I read that the young spiderlings often form tight clusters after hatching, where they remain protected in numbers while they feed on their egg yolks. Spiderlings will remain in these tight-knit clusters until they’re mature enough for disbursement.
Baby Spider Facts
Females lay up to 3,000 eggs in one or more silk egg sacs, which maintain a fairly constant humidity level. In some species, the females die afterwards, but females of other species protect the sacs by attaching them to their webs, hiding them in nests, carrying them in the chelicerae or attaching them to the spinnerets and dragging them along.
Baby spiders pass all their larval stages inside the egg and hatch as spiderlings, very small and sexually immature but similar in shape to adults. Some spiders care for their young, for example a wolf spider’s brood cling to rough bristles on the mother’s back, and females of some species respond to the “begging” behavior of their young by giving them their prey, provided it is no longer struggling, or even regurgitate food. (Wikipedia)
Many spiders disperse by a method known as ballooning. Ballooning is a behavior in which spiders and some other invertebrates use air-borne dispersal to move between locations. A spider (usually limited to individuals of a small species), or spiderling after hatching, will climb as high as it can, stand on raised legs with its abdomen pointed upwards (“tiptoeing”), and then release several silk threads from its spinnerets into the air. These automatically form a triangular shaped parachute which carries the spider away on updrafts of winds where even the slightest of breezes will disperse the arachnid. The Earth’s static electric field may also provide lift in windless conditions. (Wikipedia)