Cave Spiders can be found in almost most any dark, damp space in Caelereth. They tend to be an earthy colour, and are not very big. The biggest spider seen so far was 2 and a half palmspans. They are not very strong, but will defend themselves with a ferocity that will frighten away many predators.
Image description: A Cave Spider hanging from a cave's ceiling. Picture drawn by Faugar.
Appearance. Cave Spiders are grey, green or brown in colour and have a rounded, dotted belly as well as eight hairy legs. They have two eyes, located on either side of their head to provide half circular vision. The have two biteblades, located at either side of their mouth. These are used to cut up their food before it enters the mouth. The segment closest to the spider's mouth bears a sharp plate with jagged edges that are used for cutting and crushing food. Cave Spiders can grow up to 2 and a half palmspans and their size is dependent on the region where they live.
The so-called "Cave Spindrons" are a smaller form of the common Cave Spider. They do not grow any larger than 6 nailsbreadths and represent up to a third of the spider population.
Cave Spiders have the same abilities as
other spiders in
Caelereth, they spin
webs. The webs of Cave Spiders can be found across most subterranean caves. They
spin their webs in orb-web form, though with less intricacy than
other spiders. Webs
are purely functional for Cave Spiders, used to catch food, and as defence when
predators are attacking the cave. They can spin a web very quickly and know how
to coordinate a spinning. Half a dozen Cave Spiders working together can spin a
web in a minute. A single Cave Spider takes approximately 10 minutes to make a
Territory. Cave Spiders are among the most common of spiders and can be found anywhere in Caelereth. Though their webs are big, they are not overly strong, as they are created to catch insects and small rodents. Any bigger creature of Caelereth should be able to break through the webs without much trouble, though the webs tend to be quite sticky. Therefore they are quite a hassle for travellers going through caves, as they can be found in an abundance in many caves that adventurers seek out and miners work in.
Cave Spiders have higher concentrations in mountainous areas, especially the Mithral Mountains, where the Mitharim dwarves who mine the area discovered a fair amount of caves containing the spiders. It is also said that dwarven grandparents in Tyr Ethran still tell their little ones gruesome stories involving these Cave Spiders to keep them from entering certain parts of the mines.
Cave Spiders can also be found in higher concentrations in large forests, such as the the Goltherlon, the Auturian Woods or the Sharadon. Although found in almost every location in Caelereth, they seem to be absent in the Rahaz-Dath and the continent of Aeruillin.
Habitat/Behaviour. Cave Spiders, as the name implies, are found in dark and damp underground caves. They tend not to venture out of their caves unless they are in desperate need of food, though they usually return within a day. When they exit their caves, they will place their webs low to the ground, in the hopes to catch some quick food. If the food shortage is a continuous problem, the Cave Spiders may relocate to another cave. As they require a fair amount of moisture to survive, the Cave Spiders have never been found in regions where water is sparse.
Cave Spiders are not poisonous, but they will defend their cave with a ferocity that normally scares most predators away. They will attack until death or until the predator has been scared off. A single spider will not be deadly, but an attack by multiple spiders could be hazardous to unwary travelers.
Cave Spidrons come from the same eggs as their brethren, though they will never maintain a community of themselves. They will always follow the larger Cave Spiders around, helping to defend the cave and search for food. It is close to impossible to find a Cave Spindron without a Cave Spider somewhere nearby.
Diet. Cave Spiders deploy their webs across cave entrances, and sometimes even deeper inside their caves. When an insect or a small rodent gets caught in the web, the spider will wait until the prey tires itself out by struggling against the web. This struggle can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
Cave Spiders lay several snares so that they are able to have a continuous food source, as sometimes they must wait for days for a victim to tire itself out. Cave Spiders are very patient and only attack the prey when it is extremely tired, unless they fear to be attacked themselves. They then move in and quickly kill the victim with their biteblades. If they are in need of food at this point, they will feast right then, but most of the time they wrap their victim in their silky web so that they might feast on them later.
Mating. When a male Cave Spider reaches maturity, he will search out a female to mate with. When he encounters the female, he will wave his rear end in the air so that she knows he is not an aggressor. After the female has accepted the mating ritual by turning around and seemingly ignoring the male, he will spin a web and deposit his sperm on it. He will then leave. The female will utilize the sperm after she has laid her eggs.
A Cave Spider will lay approximately a thousand eggs. She will then take the sperm that the male has left and spread it across the eggs. After inseminating the eggs, she will leave them. Around half of the eggs will hatch, and only half of those will survive, as the spiderlings will eat each other to survive. Sometimes predators will find the eggs and eat them before they are hatched, killing part of a new generation of spiders.
Information provided by Tyrian Jadewalker