Ahab's Ecstasy pt.2

posted 7th Jun 2012, 1:03 AM

Ahab's Ecstasy pt.2
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7th Jun 2012, 1:03 AM

Chernobog

Individually weak for their size, ball spiders appear as billiard ball shaped/sized arachnids, rarely exceeding more than softball comparative diameters. White from their long years under the surface and usually marked with a single black bar around the abdomen, ball spider geneaology seperated from the main spider lines upon the introduction of early trapping web spinners. Unlike regular spiders, ball spiders lack a true thorax. They technically do possess heads, but these function only to support a cluster of nerves for the legs which extend outwards. A feeble pin-like stinger is also located here in a retractable form. Because the stinger is so short, ball spiders rarely bother harassing moving prey that isn't tied down. They are genuinely blind, dependent on smelling through their legs and sensing vibrations in stone and webbing.

With their thicker bodies allowing them to survive the colder climes but never having developed strong eyes, they remained together in colonies underground, living primarily as scavengers for prey that becomes lost in their silken draped warrens. Their bodies are developed at supporting a colony structure in desolate tunnels thanks to their ability to process proteins and lipids efficiently. The latter allows them their bulky size to withstand cold while their protein comes from breaking down old webs and recycling them. A communal habitat allows a larger chance of shared prey for the energy efficient carnivores.

Ball spiders do not molt, due to their lipid based soft body. Only the legs and stinger are chitinous and these simply fall off and are replaced by new larger ones. These legs sometimes serve to attract prey which promotes a cycle.

Lastly, like ants, ball spiders are mainly drones, incapable of reproducing. A queen is often kept behind the thick web sheets, out of sight of any danger and even some water exposure. The drones are allowed to feed and act autonomously for the most part, but every so often they are recalled by the queen for energy who feeds on them, though rarely to the point of danger. For this strategy, ball spiders have no significant threats since danger to the drones rarely effects their numbers enough to deny the queen resources to make more.

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