Maybe I’m mixing metaphors a bit by referring to both the Mad Max and Highlander movies in the same panel. Nevertheless, the tale from last week continues, and we now have the epic tale regarding the genesis of the jar of black widows.

So, one of the reasons that silk is from domesticated caterpillars, rather than from spiders, is that spiders don’t play nice with one another. One of the legendary behaviors attributed to black widows is that the females eat the males after mating. This isn’t a rule, of course, and I think it tends to occur more in captivity than in the wild, when the males don’t have the ability to get away. But man, put a few of these spiders in the same jar, and it’s chilling how quickly they’ll begin to consume one another. They’re so willing to regard each other as a food source, it’s rather remarkable that they can cooperate long enough to reproduce at all.