Fiddle Spider
Argiope ascheta lesser and
Argiope asceta greater
Family: Chimerical Insectoid
Classification: Para-sapient
Manifestation: Corporeal
Pronunciation: FID-dell SPY-dehr

In 1683, cryptozoologist Arisonda Wellington of Destiny Province attempted to fuse two native creatures, the orb spider and the camel cricket, in order to make a musical spider. She successfully engineered both male and female fiddle spiders (FID-dell SPY-dehr) but her creations escaped into the wild and multiplied. Now the common lesser fiddle spider is a nuisance pest in almost every Magimundi household in the Americas.

Fiddle spiders are hardy creatures able to thrive in nearly every environment, but they prefer cool, dark places like basements and garages. They are insectivores, using their music to lure unwitting prey to their webs where they may be trapped and devoured.

They have eight legs of which two sets can produce music simultaneously, allowing them to play harmony. Sometimes their music can be hauntingly beautiful and sometimes it can keep a Wizard up all night as the fiddle spider will play its tune as it wishes, night or day.

The adult common lesser fiddle spider grows to about 1 inch in length. It has six jointed legs like a cricket and two front legs like a spider. It has the mouth of a spider with two pincers on either side. It has eight eyes across the top of its head. Luckily, the fiddler spider is not venomous.

In the year 1842, cryptozoologist Regina St. Cartier, also of Destiny Province, experimented with enlarging the fiddle spider and increasing its intelligence with the goal of creating a profitable fiddle spider orchestra. She was successful and her trained spider orchestra was famous for a few years.

But, having learned nothing from her predecessor, she also allowed her creations to escape and now the greater fiddle spider is a common sight in the North American northeast. Like its smaller version, the greater fiddle spider plays music to lure prey to its webs, but it not only preys on insects, it also preys on small rodents like mice and shrews.

The greater fiddle spider is far more intelligent than a common spider. It can be kept as a pet and even taught tricks, especially to play music on command. Several greater fiddle spiders can work together to play well-known tunes. They are also commonly used as familiars in Destiny Province.

The greater fiddle spider can grow to about 5 inches in body length with legs up to 6 inches. It has the same physical characteristics as the lesser spider only proportionally larger. Fiddle spiders are quick and the greater fiddle spider can run in bursts of 3 feet per second, or about 2 miles per hour. They can strike quickly, enveloping their prey in web sacs to be eaten later.

Male fiddle spiders attract mates through a musical mating call. The females lay egg sacs which are dormant throughout the winter and hatch in the springtime. An egg sac can contain over 50 fertile eggs. Greater and lesser fiddle spiders do not cross-breed; greater fiddle spiders will devour lesser fiddle spiders. Lesser fiddle spiders are cannibalistic, but greater fiddle spiders were created to work together and do not view each other as prey.

A juvenile fiddle spider is called a nymph. The nymph stage lasts for one month for a lesser fiddle spider and three months for a greater fiddle spider. The nymph will go through several moltings before it reaches adulthood. A lesser fiddle spider lives for only a few months and dies in the winter. A greater fiddle spider can live up to five years in captivity. The collective noun for a group of fiddle spiders is an orchestra, or a cacophony.

Habitat

Lesser fiddle spiders are found all over the Americas. Greater fiddle spiders are native to Destiny Province, although they are quickly moving into the neighboring provinces as well. They are kept as pets and familiars by Magimundi from all the provinces. All fiddle spiders prefer dark, cool habitats.

Biology

Fiddle spiders are an unholy combination of the camel cricket and the orb spider. The vast majority of their biology is spider-like, but they can rub their legs together to produce music. Greater fiddle spiders have an increased intelligence.

Diet

Lesser fiddle spiders are insectivores. Fully grown greater fiddle spiders will also consume small mammals like mice and shrews.

Magical Uses

Greater fiddle spiders can be kept as pets or familiars. Lesser fiddle spiders are considered a nuisance animal; they cannot be used as pest control for they are as likely to eat beneficial insects as harmful ones. The webs of the fiddle spider can be gathered and used in spells and potions but cannot be formed into silk. The legs of the greater fiddle spider are too fragile to be used as wands. Some Wizards have attempted to use them as wand cores, but they are not particularly suited for that either despite a strong affinity for cryptozoology and music-magic. The molted skin and assorted organs of the greater fiddle spider can be used in spells and potions. It is believed that the mating song of the greater fiddle spider could be used to create a love spell. Wizards are experimenting with this, but have yet to produce successful results.

Defense

The lesser fiddle spider can be exterminated by providing a poisoned food source for the smaller insects that will, in turn, poison the spiders. However, the greater fiddle spider’s improved intelligence means they’ll quickly adapt to thwart extermination attempts. Perhaps its most effective technique is the greater fiddle spider’s tendency to perform a haunting dirge or funeral march when it suspects an extermination approaches. A potion of callousness or earplugs is recommended.

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