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Philosophical Transactions (1683-1775). 

( 8 * 7 ) 

II. A Letter from Mr Anthony van Leeuwenhoek, 
F, R» S. concerning Spiders , their way of kil¬ 
ting their Prey, Spinning their Webbs , Genera¬ 
tion, dec. 

Delft in Holland, June 21. 1701 

A Certain Gentleman fitting in his Garden, and ob- 
fervtng a Spider of a blackilh colour, and its Body 
like Chagrine Leather, took a fmall Twig, and preffing 
it therewith, out of the upper part of the Body there 
came forth a great number of fmall Spiders. 

This appear’d a ftrange Paradox to me, and I wiftit 
that I might partake of fuch a wonderful fight. 

I objected to this Gentleman, that poflibly the Spider 
was carrying its young ones on its back when he faw it, 
and that thro the unevenefs of thofe Creatures, the Skin 
of the Spider appear’d like Chagrine Leather. 

Having then prepared fuch Glafles as were proper to 
contain the Spiders that I intended toobferve, tho I was 
perfwaded I fhould make but little of my Remarks in the 
Winter feafon, yet feeing about the latter end of Febru¬ 
ary a Black Spider running about the Houle, I took him 
up, and viewing him with my Microfcopes, I obferved 
that his Body and Legs were covered with a great num¬ 
ber of Hairs, that flood as thick upon his Carcafs as the 
Brifties on a Hogs Back 3 from whence 1 concluded that 
it was not the fame Spider my Friend had feen. 

Tho the Legs were very Hairy, yet were they fo clear, 
that I could eafily perceive the Circulation of the Blood, 
in feveral Veins which were nc^f a hairs breadth dillancc 
from one another 3 and afterwards I fa w other fine Blood- 

Z z z z z vefiels 


( sa ) 

veffels, that were not the tenth part of a hairs breadth 
diftant from each other. 

I could not. with the ftri&eft obfervation, difcover 
the Courfe of the Arterial Blood, but I could fee, even 
in the fmalleft of the Legs, three Veffels together that 
convey’d the Blood dire&ly to the Heart. 

Notwithftanding that this Creature is by the Ancients 
efteemed a Bloodlefs fnfed, becaufe they could difcover 
no red matter in the Body when they kill’d it, or crufti’d 
it to pieces, yet I did perceive fome particles of Blood, 
which according to all appearance were Spherical, circu¬ 
lating in a liquid matter, as plainly as if you were to fee 
fo. many final! Peafe rolling off a gentle Declivity. 

But thefe particles of Blood were extremely fmall, in 
comparifoa of thofe Globules that are difcovered in larg¬ 
er Creatures, for 1 faw a fpace of three hairs breadth, 
where no Particles of Blood circulated in the Veins, and 
the Blood was expell’d with great fwiftnefs. 

1 have view’d this Spider a great many times, and at 
laft on the 8th of March I could fee the Blood in one of 
the Arteries, but could not for my life difcover where 
the Circulation began. 

This Spider getting away from me, and I not being 
able to meet with another as big, I deferr’d my farther 
Obfervations till the Spiders in the Gardens and Vine¬ 
yards, or other places where they make, their Webs, were 
come to their full growth. 

I have often taken up that fort of Spider, whofe Breech* 
is much larger and thicker than others, to fee whither I 
could difcover anyCirculation of theBlood in them too,but 
in vain y which put me upon confidering whither they 
had any Globules, or round Particles in their Bloody to 
fatisfie my felf herein, I cut off one of tlie hinder Legs 
of fuch a Spider, and view’d the Blood that ran out, in 
which I found fo few Globules that they are not to be 
earned j but wounding him in the Breaft, or fore-par^ 

( 8<f,) 

of his Body, and obferving the Blood that flowed from 
thence, 1 difcover’d abundance of Globules in it * and 
cutting off part of the Leg of another Spider, I found 
more Globules there, tho I could not perceive any Cir¬ 
culation of the Blood in the Legs. 

I have often feen a Spider hanging down from a 
Branch ofa Tree by a Thread of his own making, and 
holding faft by one of his Hind-Legs, which has three 
particular Claws, two of which are at the very end, and 
each Claw is armed with feveral Teeth like Saws, that 
towards the joyning with the Foot grow narrower and 
clofer together, and where the Thread it has fpun, may 
be clofe twifted, juft as we fee in a PaHy, which in the 
beginning is wide and large, but the longer it grows the 
narrower it is, in which the Clock-makers put their 
Lines, to faftenthe weight thereon. I thought it necef- 
fary to let the Limner take a Draught of the Claws, in 
order to reprefent the thing more lively. 

Fig. 1. ABCDEF reprefents a fmall part of the Leg 
of a Spider, B C D (hew the two extreme Claws, arm’d 
with Teeth like Saws* E the third that hath no Teeth, 
which Claw I fuppofe he ufes on feveral accounts * this 
is certain, that when the Spider does not wind liimfelf 
by his Thread upwards, but runs along his Web, then 
he takes hold of the fpun Thread with this third Claw. 

The above-mentioned Spider is provided with eight 
long, and two ftiort Legs * and thefe laft ftand out on 
each fide of the Head, having fuch Claws as are before 
mention’d, notwithftanding what fome fay, that the 
Spider has but eight Legs. 

Moreover, I difcover’d eight diftinft Eyes, two of 
which are on the top of the Head, and given him to fee 
what paffes above him; 

Below thofe were two other Eyes, to look ftraight 
before him. 

Z z z z z 2 


( 870 ) 

On each fide of the Head were two more, clofetoone 
another 5 the two foremoft Eyes to fee, as I fuppofe, 
what part collaterally before him, the two hindmoft to 
fee the fame backwards. 

To render this Defcription more obvious, I caufed the 
Limner to Defign the fore-part of the Body. 

Fig. 2. (hews you that part, feparated from the Mem¬ 
brane or Skin it lay in 3 P Qftiews the Eyes that look 
upwards.^ K L thofe that look ftraight forwards} I M. 
the lideways forward 5 H N the fide-ways backward. 

Now if we know that the Spiders Eyes are immovable, 
having no Mufeles belonging to them, ’tis eafie to con¬ 
ceive how necefiary eight Eyes are to him, in order to 
look round about him, the more eafily to catch his 

I have often heard fpeak of the Sting of a Spider, and 
that with the fame he is able to kill a ^Toad, but having 
never learn’d whereabouts this Sting grew, I fancied to 
my felf it tnuft be in the Tail, as it happens in moft Fly¬ 
ing Infe&s } but to my furprize, I found that the Spider 
has two Inftruments or Cafes for his Sting in the fore 
part of his Head, which, when he does not make ufe of 
his Sting, he places in great order under his Eyes, and 
between his two fhort Legs. 

Thefe Stings are crooked like a Claw, and very much 
refemble the Stings of Scorpions, or Indian Millepedes. 

Both the Stings of a Spider have towards the end, 
and on each fide a little hole, from whence, according 
to all appearance, when he ftrikes his Enemy, he ejeds 
a liquid matter, which we call Poyfon. 

Fig. 3. ABCDEF, &c. (hews both the Inftruments 
that contain the Stings^ BC {hews you the Sting as it is 
eafed or laid up. 

HIK. defcribes the Sting extended, and ready for 
Battel, C and I the little Holes in each Sting, which 
Holes go quite thro. 


( 871 y 

E F G reprefents the 2 Rows of Teeth which (erve for 
a Cafe to the Stings, thefe Teeth are cover’d With Hairs, 
which I did not think neeeffary to defign at prefent; CB 
is the Sting in its pofture of reft. 

Thefe two Rows of Teeth I fancy are given the Spi¬ 
der to hold the Prey that he has hunted and ftruck with 
his Sting, fo faft that i( t cannot fee wrefted from him. 

When I put two or three of the biggeft fort of Spi¬ 
ders together in the Glafs, I obferved that when they 
met, they never parted without an Engagement, in which 
one has been fo wounded fometimes, that his Body was 
wet with the Blood fpilt in the Battel,and that foon after 
he dyed< 

I always obferved that the letter fled fro® the greater, 
and when it happen’d that two of an equal fize met to¬ 
gether, neither retired, but held one another fo faft by 
their Stings, that one would remain dead without once 
Barring, and’ fo wet with the Blood it had loft, as if it 
had lain fome time in the Water. 

I had one Spider that was wounded by his Antagonift 
in the thickeft part of his Leg,from whence iffued one drop 
of Blood as big as a large Sand 5 not being able to ufe this 
wounded Leg in running away fro® hi*Enemy, he raifed 
it up an end, and prefently after the whole Limb fell off 
from his Body 5 and I have obferv’d that when they 
are wounded in the Breaft, or upper part of their Bodies, 
they always die. 

I ufed to be of opinion, that when the Spider would 
fatten his Thread to any thing, or joyn one Thread to 
another, that the laft fpun Thread was indued with a 
fort of a Slimy or Glewy Matter, whereby it ftuck to 
whatever the Spider fatten’d it, as it happens in Silk¬ 
worms. But I have found, on the contrary, that the 
Spider can’t fatten his Thread, unlefs he preffes with his 
Breech upon the place where his Thread is to be fatten¬ 
ed, which preffure caufes an infinite number of unfpeak- 

( 87* ) 

able fine Threads to ifliie out ot his Body; from whence 
one may conclude, that fo.Toon as thofe Threads come 
into the Air they lofe their Vifcofity or Stickynefs. 

When I formerly open’d or differed a Spider, in order 
to difcover that Vifcous Stringy Matter, which I took to 
be the beginning of their Web, and not finding it I was 
amazed, being, unable to conceive how fuch a ftrong 
Thread could in fo Ihort a time proceed out of fuch a 
moift Body, ftrong enough to bear the weight not of one 
only, but even fix Spiders $ and when I endeavour’d to 
find out the manner how they make their Webs,, one and 
the fame Thread feem’d to me fometimes to confift of a 
Angle Thread, and fometimes of four or five, I would 
fain have feen how the Threads come out of the body 
of the Spider, but I could not attain to that yet. 

Since then I took a Spider and laid her upon her Back, 
that fhe could not ftir, and with a very fine pair of Pin¬ 
cers pull’d out farther a Thread, which I could perceive 
fticking out of one of the working Inftruments, in 
doing which I faw abundance of very fine Threads com¬ 
ing out of the Body at theTame time 5 which, as foon as 
they were one or two hairs breadth diftant from the 
Body, were prefently joyn’d together, and fo made thick 

Not content with thefe my Obfervations, I bethought 
myfelfhow to faften thefe fine Threads whilft they 
were divided, and juft as they came out of the Body of 
the Spider, that I might make others likewife witnefles 
of the Infinite number and unconceivable Fineneffes of 
thofe Threads; which fucceeded with me three feveral 
times, and the oftner the better. 

But it is impoffible for me to defcribe with the Pen, or 
even to grave in Copper the extreme Finenefs of thofe 
Threads, for notwithftanding I ufed my beft Glafies, yet 
even then they appear’d fo fmall as alrnoft to efcape the 


( $73 ) 

I endeavour’d to tell thofe Threads as they came °ut 
of the Body, but could not, for in fome places I found. 
Threads that were 25 times as Thick as others that lay 
next them. 

I caufed the Limner to look at fome of thefe Threads, 
as they came out of the Spider’s Body, who was forced 
to own that there was no defending them either with 
Pen or Pencil, and that they could hardly be engraved 
on Copper Plates* however I have fent them as well 
done as I could. 

Fig. 4. M N O P Q reprefents a part of the Threads* 
which I think came out of but two of their working /»- 
(iruments, and are divided from one another, juft as they 
iifued from the Body. 

Now, as we may perceive that a Spiders Web,, which 
to our naked Eye feem but Angle, do yet confift of many 
other Threads, and thereby acquires a greater ftrength 5 
we may from hence certainly conclude, that no Flexible 
Bodies (excepting Metals, whofe parts are ftrongly ce¬ 
mented by the force of Fire ) can attain to any degree of 
Strength, unlefs they confift of long united parts ^ and 
the more thefe parts are twifted together, or cemented 
with any Vifcous Matter, the ftronger they are, which is 
very obvious in Flax, or Silken Thread, Ropes, &c. 

And thus alfo Hair or Wool, according to its Finenefs, 
has more or lefs ftrength, becaufe each of thofe Hairs 
confifts of longer and finer parts, which are not only 
united by a Vilcous Matter to one another, but are alfo 
arm’d with a Skin or Bark, which does more ftri&ly joyn 
the Contained Parts. 

Now if we ferioufiy reflect on the infinite number of 
Fine Threads that at once proceed from the Body of fuch 
a Spider, and the Reafon of the thing, we muft own that 
it ought not to be otherwife, for to make a Thread fo 
thick and ftrong as is neceilary in a Spiders Web, with 
the Vifcous Matter which for that purpofe is thrown out 

( 874 > 

of the Spiders Body,can’t be done near fo foon^nor be im¬ 
mediately congealed in theAir,as the thin and fineThreads, 
a hundred of which being put together, will not, in my 
opinion, make the hundredth part of the Thicknefs of 
one Angle Hair of my Head : in a word, we may hereby 
difcover the Wifdom of Godin the Perfection of liis 
Creatures, tho we little regard fuch a Thread as this, be- 
caufe it efcapes our naked fight. 

Whilft I made my obfervations of this Infinite number 
of Threads, I was quite amazed to confider the wonder¬ 
ful Inftruments that lye hid in the Womb of the Spider, 
thro which fo many Threads muft feparately proceed. 

And tho I could not imagine that I fhould ever be able 
to difcover this great Myftery, yet I proceeded to the 
DifTe&ion of the Body of. one of the largeft Spiders I 
could get, and very curioufly inveftigated each part of it, 
and at laid, to my great amazement, I difcover’d thevaft 
number of Inftruments, from whence each Angle Thread 
proceeded 5 yea, the number was fo great, that I judg’d 
them to be at leaft four hundred; but they did not 
lye by one another, but were divided into eight Diftinft 
Parts'or Inftruments^ fo that if the Spider fe£ all thefe 
eight Inftruments to work at once, there would proceed 
from the fame eight particular Threads* which were a- 
gain fubdivided into a great number of fmaller; but one 
of the great Threads would be thicker than the other, 
becaufe one part of the Body would produce twice as 
many Threads as the other juft by if. 

When I view’d the difie&ed Body with my Microfcopes, 
and the place where the Threads come out, 1 found that 
they were fhut up by five diftintt parts, which at the end 
are pointed, and caufe fuch a fort of (hutting 5 but from 
the middlemoft there comes no Thread out. 

The other four Inftruments, which (hoot out thefe 
Threads, are cover’d outwards with thick Hairs, fo that 
all the fmall Inftruments lye inwards j for this reafon (as 

I ima- 

(*7S ) 

imagine) that they may not receive any damage, when 
the Spider creeps into any hole where there is no occafi- 
on of making his Web, or when he runs along the 

ground in qu eft of his prey. 

Now if one feparates the above-mention’d four Inftru- 
tftents, one (hall find tour other lying between them, 
which contain within them yet fmaller and (tenderer In¬ 
ftruments, from each of which proceed exceeding fine 

After that thofe four Inftruments have been difle&ed, 
in order to expofe to ones view what lies inwards, the 
Scene is as of a large Field, cover’d with an infinite num¬ 
ber of pointed Twigs, and each delivering out a (Ingle 
Thread: Thefe Inftruments are double, and may be com¬ 
pared ton Reed that is thicker at bottom than at top, 
out of which proceeded another, the biggeft end where¬ 
of was incafed within the fmaller end of the former, and 
out of the fmall end of this laft came out a Thread of 
an extraordinary finenefs. 

Sometimes it happened to me, that I could not difco- 
ver the Working Inftruments in feme of the before-men- 
tioh’d parts 5 which I foppos’d to be, that, when the 
Spider did not employ them in making his Web, they 
were (hut up, and then 1 could fee nothing in the place 
where they ufed to come out, but fmall Points or Tips 
of them, but with a little fqueezing, they appear’d pre- 
fently in great numbers. 

I obferv’d alfo, that (bine few of thofe parts, from 
whence the Threads proceeded were larger and longer 
than the reft, which I fuppofe did produce Threads of 
an extraordinary bignefs, in companion of the reft. 

Now, if we-take it for granted (as it is really true ) 
that a young Spider juft come out of the Egg is three 
hundred times fmaller than, a full grown jSpider, and at 
the fame time allow that this young Spider has rdf tbr; 
Working Inftruments within his Body as the old ur, 

A a a a a a (which 

( 8 j6 ) 

(which as (he grows in bignefs are alfo enlarged in pro¬ 
portion,) we muft neceffarily conclude that the Threads 
that are fpun by the young, are three hundred times 
fmaller than thofe fpun by the old Spider, which finenefs 
and finalnefs is hardly to be conceiv’d by us. 

I always obferved, that when the Spider does not fatt¬ 
en his Thread at one firetch, the Threads are drawn in¬ 
wards with Bents and Krinkies, whereupon I concluded 
that each of thofe thin Threads was in it felt round, 
but by the addition of feveral other Threads it acquired 
a Flaraefs, as fe veral common Threads laid together ap¬ 
pear to us. 

The fame thing is alfo obferved by cur Gold Wire- 
drawers, whofe Threads (if they break or hang loofe ) 
kriokle, and then always appear round. 

I could not forbear deferibing ( as far as the Limner 
was able)-the above-mention’d Inftruments, from whence 
thofe wonderfully final! Threads proceed. 

Fig. 5. RST V fhews one of the four outermoft In¬ 
ftruments, which Inftrumenc, with all its Quills or Reeds 
together, is not fo large as one common Sand j from 
whence you may imagine how frnall thofe Inftruments 
muft he, and how fine the Threads that are incafed with¬ 
in the firft Inftruments. 

In the faid Figure at W the Working Inftruments flood 
as thick by one another as they do between R and S, 
but becaufe it is oppofite to the light, and confequently 
was not eafily to be diftinguifht, I order’d the Limner to 
leave that place empty. 

Moreover, that part which was from the fight was not 
cover’d with thofe fort of Quills, but with Hairs only. 

I made the Limner turn thislnftrument about, to have 
his opinion how many Quills or Reeds he thought there 
might be, upon which he told me that the number was 
.above one. hundred.. 

I faid: 

( «77 ) 

1 fa id before, that a few of the/e .Inftruments were 
larger than the reft, and confequently produced a larger 
Thread 3 and (hewing the Limner'fuch a one that flood 
between two others (one of which brought forth a krin« 
kled or harl d ThreadJ, I caus’d him to draw it, as you 
may fee in Fig. 6 . A B and D E reprefenting the two 
fmall ones- 

It has happen’d fometimes, that when I fqueez’d fuch 
an Inftrument as Fig. 5. inftead of Threads, which ought 
to have appear’d, there came out Matter that became a 
round drop, which 1 fuppofe was occafion’d for want of 
a continuation of the fame Matter 3 whereas the other 
parts that flood next produced Threads. 

When I^ufed to prefs the hinder part of the Spiders 
Body, from whence its Web proceeds, with my Tongues 
or Pincers pretty hard, it has frequently happen’d that a 
round particle, in length the third part of an inch,, and 
as thick as a Horfe-hair, came out, very Tranfparent, 
and of a Tough and Vifcous nature, whereupon I thought 
with my felf* whether this might not be the fubftance 
whereof the Threads were form’d, and alfo whither the 
Body of the Spider was net fo framed, as to be able to 
prefs or infinuate into its Working Inftruments that Mat¬ 
ter, which was the Foundation of the Threads that'iffued 
from thence. 

I have often cut off a piece of that part of the Spider’s 
Body from whence thefe Threads proceed, and have af¬ 
terwards drawn out long Threads out of it. 

One time I took a very fmall Frog, the length of 
whofe Body was about an inch and half, and put him 
into a Glafs Tube, and a great Spider by him, in order 
to fee how thefe two would behave themfelves towards 
each other 3 I obferved that the Spider paft by the Frog 
without touching him, but yet he had drawn cut his 
Stings, as if he intended to have fallen on him imme¬ 

A a aa a a 2 


(8 ? S ) 

After this I caufed the Frog to run againft the Spider, 
who thereupon ftruck him in the Rack with his Stings, 
and fo wounded him in two feveral places, that in one 
place he left a red fpeck, and in the other a blue fpot. 

Hereupon I brought them together again, then the 
Spider ftruck his Strings into the Fore*3eg of the Frog, 
who upon that ftruggled fo hard that the Spider was 
forced to leave him, and I older ved that fome few of the 
Blood-veflels in the Frogs Legs were wounded. 

Once again I forced the Frog to juftle the Spider, who 
upon that ftruck both his Stings into the Nofe of the 
Frog, after which they both flood ftill about half a mi' 
nute, then I open’d the Glafs and took the Spider out, 
and for the Frog he fat about an hour without any mo¬ 
tion, then ftretcht out his hinder Legs, and fo died. 

The next day 1 took another Frog about the fame ftze 
with the former, and another Spider, and put them both 
into the fame Glafs, the Spider paft by the Frog with¬ 
out meddling with him, but when I fuddenly (hook them 
together, the Spider ftruck both his Stings in the back of 
the Frog, but I could not perceive that he had wounded 
him fo far as the Veins, for there was no Blood fpiTt. 

This' Frog was very fhy of the Spider, and as foon as 
the Spider came near him, or toucht him with his Feet 
or Claws, the Frog ufed his utmoft efforts to avoid him. 

Again, I brought the Frog fo near as fo touch the 
Spider with the fore-part of his Body, who thereupon 
gave him two Blows with his Stings in the lower part of 
his Head, one of which pierced the Blood-Vefiels, fo 
that there remain’d a red fpot after $ the Spider prefently 
quitted the Frog, becaufe of the ftrong efforts the other 
made to get from him, and then fet herfelf to cleanfe 
her Stings with a moifture that came from her Mouth for 
that purpofe 5 then I feparated the Spider from the Frog, 
and view’d the Circulation of the Blood in the Veins of 
the latter, that I might fee whither any Alteration was 


( *79 ) 

therein, occafioned by the Wound received of the Spi¬ 
der , but I could difcover nothing, neither could I per¬ 
ceive that the Frog had got any harm, for the next day 
(he was as brisk as if nothing had ail’d her. 

Now ’tis.poffible, that the hinging of Spiders in hot¬ 
ter Countries may be more pernicious than in our Cli¬ 
mate 3 ’tis alfo poflible, that this Spider might "have 
fpent his Poyfon lately, by wounding another Spider, or 
any other Creature. 

When l had kept this Frog four days in my Glafs 
Tube, and found that he was never the worfe for the 
flinging of the Spider, I threw her into the Water and 
obferved that (he endeavour’d to fwim towards Land, to 
get out of the Water, as indeed all Frogs do in deep Wa¬ 
ters, for fear of being devoured by the Fifties. 

X mention’d fomething before of the Blood of Spiders, 
which I have fince obferved again, and found that every 
Particle of Blood confifts of feveral other fmaller parts, 
and perfwaded my felf that each Particle was compofed 
of fix others, analogous to the Blood of our Bodies, and 
moreover feveral other little Particles, which were fome 
lefs than others 3 but thefe laft Particles were in no wife 
vifible till the fine Serum of the Blood was quite exhaled* 

Moreover, in viewing the Blood that came out of the 
Feet that were cut off, I obferved that if l fpent any 
time in looking on it, the Serum would exhale, and the 
Salt Particles would cleave together like fo many fine 
Twigs or Branches, juft as the night-dews when congeal¬ 
ed againft our Glafs-windows3 but when l left off look¬ 
ing, and laid the Glafs by, the air being cool, the Cri- 
ftaliz’d Saks return’d to their former ftiape 3 and again, if 
I brought my warm hand but half a minute near the 
Glafs, all the Sait Particles were coagulated again 3 but 
with breathing a little on them they were quickly reduced 
to, a clear Water. 

( 88o ) 

This was no fmall <litferfion forme, to fee the Saks, 
which feem’d to have their rife from a Point or exceed¬ 
ing fmall particle of Blood, ftream and branch themfelves 
as it were into Trees. 

After this, I took up another Spider, and put him in¬ 
to my Glafs Tube, in order to difcover the Circulation of 
the Blood 3 and faw it very plain both in the Veins and 
Arteries 3 and his Legs being very Tranfparent, likethofe 
Spiders that are found in Trees or Shrubs, I faw feveral 
,times (and that prefently one after another) a fudden and 
brisker motion of the Blood, which I fuppofe was occa¬ 
sion’d by every Syftole and Diaftole of the Heart. 

I took another Spider that I found in a Thiftle, which 
was eight times Iefs than the great Garden Spider, and 
obferved the Circulation of his Blood, which I could ea- 
fily perceive both in the Veins and Arteries. 

In the middle, or about the latter end of the month of 
Obf&ber, I took feveral of the largeft Spiders I could get, 
and (hut them up feverally in Glafs Tubes, that they 
might lay their Eggs, and to fee what I could difcover 
in the faid Eggs, the time being come that they could, 
get no more food, the Flyes and other winged In feds 
which they ufed to prey on, being all gone 3 but I was 
amazed to find in their Excrements whole Wings and 
Heads and Legs of fmall Flies, which were fo large that 
I could not conceive how they part thro their Bodies. 

On the 30th of Offober, I obferved that two of my 
Spiders had laid Eggs, and had cover’d them with fovaft 
a quantity of their Web, that I was aftonilht how they 
could do it in a few hours. 

I took the Web, and the Eggs that were inclofed, and 
open’d feveral of them, which I found to be of a yel¬ 
low ifh colour. 

Thefe Eggs were alrooft round, and the Axis of one of 
them was about the goth part of an Inch, and when 
they lay all together, they made a roundilh Body, whofe 


( 881 ) 

Axis was i of an inch $ but if you lookt upon them tide¬ 
ways, their Diameter appear'd k of an inch 5 from whence 
it is very eafie to reckon what a vaft number of Eggs one 
Spider will lay. 

Upon a narrow view of this great heap of Egg? that 
lay in order by one another, one would be apt to judge 
that it were impoffibie for fuch a number of them to pro* 
ceed from the body of one Spider, than which they feera’d 
much larger. 

But the wonder will ceafe, when we confider (as I al¬ 
ways obferv’d when I open’d the Spiders) that the Eggs 
are not exaftly round while they lye in the Spider’s Bo¬ 
dy, but being preft together, they aflame particular Fi¬ 
gures, in order ( if I may fo fay ) to their own conve¬ 

Thefe Eggs being round, and lying in order, and 
touching each other but in one point, rauft needs take 
up more room than when they lay in the Spider’s Belly. 

The Membrane or Shell of thefe Eggs is very weak, lo 
that in endeavouring to feparate them, becaufe they flick 
to one another by a Vifcous Matter, I could not help 
breaking them oftentimes. 

On the laft of October, about five in the evening, Iob- 
ferved that another Spider had made his Web againfi: the 
fides of the Glafs Tube, in order to lodge h&Eggs there § 
and whereas before I could not imagine how the Spider 
had placed his Eggs in the middle of the Glafs,. I was 
now fully facisfied in that matter, for I faw plainly that 
die made her Web like a thick Bed againft the Glafs 5. 
that as yet there was no Eggs in it ; and that which war, 
moft remarkable was, that this Bed was not flat, but ha j. 
a well-contrived hollownefs within it, not exa&ly round, 
but oval. 

About 40 minutes after I viewed the Spider again, and 
found that the faid Bed was not only full of Eggs* bat 
that there was a great heap of them (tending above the 


( 88 * ) 

Bed, and the Spider very bufie in covering her Eggs with 
her Web on every fide, ufing lv.:r two hinder Feet as well 
as her Breech to faften the Th« 5 ads that proceeded from 
thence, and to range them aii order 5 all her Working 
Inftrumenrs were open, and of them teem’d to me to 
be delivering out Thread for rite Work, fometimes (he 
raifed up her Body a draw’s breadth, then removed it as 
much, that the Threads might have a freer paflage, and 
cover her Eggs the better. 

When (he was delivered of all her Eggs, her Body was 
not the fourth part fo large as before, and tho lately 
fmooth and diftended, ’twas now fill’d with Wrinkles and 

On the 20th of Otfober I carried fome of the Eggs in 
a Glafs Tube about me, to fee whether the heat oi my 
Body would hatch the young Spiders, which we know 
ufually come out of their Eggs in Spring. 

I concluded now, that all Spiders that in the latter 
part of the year have great Bodies, are big with Egg. 

I was farther defirous to fee how the Spider laid her 
Eggs, and the 7th of November I had-my wifli in fome 
meafure, for I (aw 6 or 8 Eggs laid, which did not come 
out of the hind-moft part of the Body, as in all other 
Creatures, but from the upper part of the Belly, not far 
from her hind-legs, where grows a fort of a Hook of a 
particular form, much like that, wherewith old men fa¬ 
llen their Breeches and Doublets together, of which when 
1 faw it before, I could not conceive the ufe, this Hook 
came partly over the opening, out of which the Eggs 
proceed, thro which I did'believe (he difeharg’d her Ex¬ 

I could have wiflht indeed, that I had come fooner to 
the laying of the Eggs, that I might have mentioned it 
with greater certainty, for the Spider, as loon as ever fire 
had laid her Eggs, covered them with her Web. 


But becaufel would be fully fatisfied in the tatter, I 
took feveral Spiders that had not yet laid, and throwing 
them on their backs, I preft their Bellies, whereby I had 
not only a clear view of the opening, but by fqueezing a 
little harder, I made a great many Eggs come out, and 
not the lead moifture proceeded from the hinder part of 
the Body. 

This Experiment convinced me, that that was the 
place from whence (he voided both her Eggs and Excre¬ 

I thought fit to let the Limner -draw fuch a Spider of 
an ordinary fize as fhe lay on her Back, with her Legs 
contracted as if (he had been dead, in order to fhow, if 
poffible, the afore-mention’d place. 

Fig.7. ABC reprefents the Spider in fuch a pofture, 
and D the Hook. 

I feparated the faid Hook from the Spider’s Body, and 
placing it before my Glafs, I gave it the Limner to draw 
as it appeared to him. 

Fig. 8. G H IK (hews the Hook as it appear’d through 
the Micrcfcope, between I and K the Wrinkles or Folds 
are feen, which I imagine were made to produce a more 
than ordinary motion. 

E F (hows you that part of it that joyn’d it to the 

I never was fo happy as to fee theSpiders couple 5 a cer¬ 
tain Gentleman told me that they coupled Back to Back $ 
but what fhall we fay, the Coition of Spiders mud differ 
fundamentally from other Creatures, fince their Matrix is 
placed in the upper part of the Belly 5 however it be, our 
Curiofity muft be deferr’d till next Octcbsr. 

I thought with my felf, whether the ufe of the fere- 
faid Hook might not-be to range and place the Eggs: In 
the faid Fig, 8. between F and G are two round Balls, 
but I cannot imagine the ufe of them. 

B b b b b b 


( 876 ) 

I told you before, that I carried the Eggs of a Spider 
To long about me till all the Moifture was exhaled 3 but 
no young ones hatched 3 from which experiment I con¬ 
cluded that thefe were the Eggs of a Spider, that had ne¬ 
ver coupled with the Male. 

I made the fame Experiment with the Eggs of a fecond 
Spider, and met with the fame fuccefs. 

The firft of Jamary was the third time that I took a 
Spider’s Eggs, and putting them into a Glafs Tube, car¬ 
ried them about me* they were laid by the largeft Spider 
that I had feen the laft Summer, and it was one of the 
laft I could meet with in the Gardens. I view’d them fe- 
veral days without opening them, and finding no altera¬ 
tion in them, which! attributed to the cold weather, I 
kept them four days without looking at them, imagining 
I fhould have no better luck with them than with the 
reft } but upon the 17th of the fame month, in the morn¬ 
ing, viewing them again, I faw five and twenty young 
Spiders that were come out of fo many Eggs, and about 
five and twenty more whofe Bodies were but half out of 
the Egg-fhell, and fome of them had their Shells hanging 
upon their Tail, and in the evening about fix a clock I 
reckon’d one hundred and fifty young ones. 

The next day I view’d them again, and then I con¬ 
cluded that no more Spiders would come out of the Eggs 5 
and that feveral of them which I faw lying about the 
Glafs were Barren, and that in others the young Spiders 
were dead, the number of which-1 judged to be about 
fifty, and about ten or twelve Eggs were blackifh. 

When the Glafs Tube and the young Spiders that were 
in it had been out of my Pocket but 15 minutes, in the 
very cold weather, I could hardly difcover any life or 
motion in fome of them 3 but fb foon as the Glafs Tube 
had been a little warm’d again, they were brisk and live¬ 
ly, and moft of them got together in a company, as we 
fee in fwarms of Bees, «and fo hung about the Web, 
where the Eggs had been lodged before. On 

( «77) 

On the 21 ft of January l could percei ve the eight Eyes 
in every Spider, which before were not fo vilible 3 but 
now being of a brown or darkifh colour, they were eafily 
diftinguifhable from the fore-part of their Body, which 
was white, as the hinder part was yellowilh. 

Now if we confider what an infinite number of Spiders 
are produced by one, and in how fhort a time, we can’t 
conceive whence, or how they get their Food, efpecially 
fince the old ones, as far as I could fee, feed upon no¬ 
thing but Living Creatures. 

On the 2 2d of January I obferv’d that the Legs of a 
great many Spiders ( which before had been clear and 
tranfparentj did now affume a dark colour, and after¬ 
wards began to be cover’d with Hair, whereas I could 
perceive none a little before. 

On the 23d of fhe fame month their Legs grew dark¬ 
er, and fo did the hinder-part of their Bodies whence 
their Web proceeds, and that alfo began to be cover’d 
with Hairs 3 then I obferved likewife a great many Parti« 
cles of a Moift or Watery Matter hanging on the fides of 
the Glafs, which moifture I had not before taken notice 
of 3 but now there was fo much of it, that the Barren 
Eggs, which before rolled freely about the Glafs, were 
glew’d on to it by this Vifcous Matter, which *did fo 
much abound, that the young Spiders had much ado to 
pafs thro it 3 I obferv’d too that they had caft their very 
thin Skins, and began to be much nimbler in their mo¬ 

The 25th I faw them fpin a Thread, and manage it 
with their hind-feet as well as the old ones : I obferved 
too that they had eat up the Barren Eggs, and-the others 
wherein .1 did fuppofe the young ones to be dead, which 
were about fifty in number 3 for a few days after there 
was nothing remaining but the bare Shells. 

I have compared the Threads of a full-grown Spider 
with one of the Hairs of my Beard, whereof 1 took the 

B b b b b b 2 thick- 

( 878 ) 

thkkeft part and placed it before the Microfcope, andac- 
cording to my niceft obfervation, I judged that above 
one hundred of rhofe Threads laid together did not equal 
the Diameter of one Hair of my Beard 5 now fuppofing 
rb?s Hair to be round, tea thoufand of the Fine Threads 
of a. Spiders Web, are not thicker than one Angle Hair of 
a Mans Head. 

Now if we add to this, as it is moft certainly true, that 
four hundred young Spiders, when they firft begin to 
fpin, are not, one with another, bigger than one full 
grown Spider, and that each of thofe young ones is pro¬ 
vided with all the Working Inftruments of J:he old one, 
’twould follow that the fmalleft Thread of fuch a young 
Spider is 400 times fmaller than that of a great one 5 and 
if fo, then 4000000, Threads of a young Spider are not 
fo big as the Hair of ones Head $ but then again, if we 
confider of how many parts one of thofe fmalleft Threads 
confifts, we mod (land aftonifht, and own we know no¬ 

I obferv’d that half the young Spiders were fmaller in 
the hinder part of their Bodies than the reft, which laft f 
fuppos’d to be Males. 

Alfo that moft of thefe young Spiders had bor’d into 
the Web, and in a manner lodg’d themfelves therein, 
which made mefufpedt that for want of other Meat they 
had fed on the Web, and the more becaufe fome of them 
were grown pretty big. 

On the 30th of January moft of them were employed 
in weaving their Web, fo that the Glafs fwarm’d with 

On the 8th of February I could perceive that many of 
the Spiders had eat one another up, and at the very time 
I lookt on them, there were four upon one, whom they 
had almoft devour’d, and here and there I faw pieces of 
Legs, and now the Shells of the Barren Eggs were eat up 
fo clear, that I could fee nothing of ’em remaining. 


( *7 9 ) 

On the ioth of February my Spiders were reduc’d to half 
their number, and thofe that remain’d were eating the 
Thickeft of their Companions Legs. 

Thefe Spiders diminifht daily, fo that on the laft of 
the faid month I could fee but thirty of ’em alive, among 
which a few were twenty times as bigas fome that remain’d. 

On the 5th of March I could fee but 3 or 4 alive, and 
about the Web I obferv’d a black Matter, about which 
the Spiders had fwarm’d very much, and found that it 
was nothing elfe but a heap of Legs of thofe young Spi¬ 
ders, whofe Bodies had been devoured. 

I kept by me the Eggs of feveral Spiders in Glafs Tubes 
in my Clofet, and particularly on the 24th of January I 
put the Eggs of two different Spiders in two diftindt 
Glafles, and on the 6th of February could perceive in one 
of them 3 young ones crawling out of the Web. 

I took one of thofe young Spiders, whofe Egg-fliell 
was ftill hanging at his Tail, and fet him before my Mi- 
crofcope in the open Air, and tho the fore-part of his 
Body was as bright as Glafs, yet I could not perceive the 
leaft motion in the inner parts $ from whence 1 con¬ 
cluded that the Heart was not fettled in their Bread:, for 
if it had been there I muft needs have perceiv’d the Moti¬ 
on thereof y now therefore I believe it lay near the Eyes, 
where it was not fo Tranfparent, for that the Bxyuljion 
of the Blood in a Spider proceeds from the Heart, is, I 
think, not to be doubted. 

I endeavour’d moreover to difcover the Circulation of 
the Blodd in the Legs of thefe fmall Creatures,, which ob- 
fervation fucceeded with me feveral times. 

When I caff my Eyes upon the hinder part of their 
Bodies, I could perceive that the Intrals thereof confided 
of a vaft number of Globules of feveral fizes, of which 
the Eggs are compos’d. 

On the 7th of February I could not perceive that there 
were any more young Spiders come out of the Web, but 


( 88o ) 

I faw at feaft five and twenty Egg-fhells lying without 
the Web. 

On the 9th of the faid month a few young Spiders 
were come out of the Web, that had calt their Skins, 
and others were crowded together in the Web. 

On the iorh ditto all the young Spiders were got out, 
and had filed their Coats, before which time I don’t be¬ 
lieve they endeavour’d to come out. 

On the 12th of February I laid one of the Glafs Tubes 
upon my Desk, to fee how the Spiders would fare in cold 
weather, and the next morning T found that molt of 
them were crept into their Web 5 but after I had carried 
them fome hours in my Pocket, I found that they were 
come abroad again. 

The 20th of February I took two young Spiders out of 
the faid Glafs Tube, and put them into another that was 
thinner, and ftopt both ends of this other Tube with 
Paper, fo that they might not get out, and yet have air 

The 14th of April I perceived that one of my Spiders, 
lay dead, and the other very well and lively $ but on the 
26th of the fame month it began to flag in its motion 
and the next day ’twas dead alfo, and yet l could not fee 
that one had hurt t’other ^ whereupon I concluded, that 
thefe young Spiders will live more than two months, if 
it be cold weather, without eating. 

lathe great Glafs Tube, from whence I had taken the 
abovemention’d two Spiders that had been hateht at the 
fame time, there were ftill, that is to fay on the 26th of 
April, twenty young Spiders alive, fitting altogether in 
the Web, which they had fpun without once touching 
or running about the Glafs, becaufe, as I fuppofe, the 
Glafs was too cold for them $ and on the 22d of May 
there were but three of them living, which I could not 
perceive to be grown much bigger 5 the reft of them lay 
by dead, butmoftly devoured by the longeft livers. 


( 88 . ) 

In the fecond Glafs Tube, which I had carried about 
me a long time, the young Spiders that were therein did 
not live near fo long as the others ; the reafon whereof 
was, as I conceive, that the warmth of my Bod} r caus’d 
them to Perfpire more, and confequently toftand in need 
of their Food fooner- 

Now I had in my Desk the Eggs of fix diftind Spiders, 
which I often view’d, to know when the young Spiders 
would come out of them ; and on the 20th "of May I ob- 
ferv’d the Eggs to change colour a little y and on the 
2 2d the young ones were Hatched, and lay foclofe to one 
another in the Web, that they took up but little more 
room than when they were in their Shells, and I could 
not difcover any motion in them, only they that lay out- 
ermoft ftirr’d their Legs a little. 

Thus, I have given you my Thoughts and poor 
Obfervations about Spiders $ which Creature, in the 
eyes of forne people, is fo odious or terrible, that 
they will not come near them 5 in which however 
we have difeover’d as much perfe&ion and hidden 
Beauties as in any other Creature 5 for when I took the 
Flelhy Mufcles out of their Legs, and view’d them thro 
the Microfcope, l was aftonifht at their Tranfparency, 
and they feem’d to be one Body $ but when I Came to 
feparate them, I found that they were compofed of very 
long Particles, each confiding of fo many Folds or Wrin¬ 
kles, that the Mufcle might be dilated or contracted, as 
there fiiould be occafion* 

The following Book being rarely to be met with , is thought 
worth reprinting • The Teeth mentioned in it may be feen in 
the Repository of the Royal Society in Grefham Colledge. 

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