Seeing them outside of their native habitat, one might imagine thornweb spiders easy to spot in their homeland of Alveus, with their bright markings and distinctive thorns. The thorns, however, are partly a means of camouflage, allowing the spiders to blend into the pale branches of bramble and berry bushes in the Alvean forests. If their hiding spot is compromised, these small spiders will change color, flashing their red marks with reflective blue and waving their bodies from side to side as though to strike. These spiders are generally harmless and only bite large animals if provoked. The venom in their mandibles is the same as that which exudes from their thorn-like abdominal spines, and though deadly to small insects, it merely causes a jolt of sharp pain for humans. Like many substances found in magical creatures, thornweb venom is useful for certain spells and potions. It can be used to excruciating effect without modification to cause brief, intense amounts of pain, but most magi decry this use of the venom. The more common and acceptable use is in pain-relief tonics and salves for healing burns.
This minuscule egg has little legs that allow it to skitter around.
Alvean thornweb spiders are a relatively small species, hatching from eggs barely the size of poppy seeds, but they can be found all over the wilds and gardens of Alveus. The hatchlings are fully capable of hunting gnats and other small insects, but most fall prey to predators before they reach their adult size so they hatch in clusters of several hundred to increase the chances of at least one spiderling surviving. The young spiders also have a few other techniques to help them survive, like living in communal nursery webs with their siblings until they reach a week or so old. This helps them catch larger prey, though eventually the larger individuals will start to balloon away on long thin strands of silk to find their own territories. The characteristic spines of the adults don't grow in until the spiderlings have shed their exoskeleton a few times, usually around the time they are three or four weeks old. At that point, the thorns serve as the spider's main defense against predators, though they will often come together with other thornweb spiders to form social webs as adults as well.
Not many people aside from arachnologists and healers are especially fond of thornweb spiders, and it is rare to see them even in the Keep. Many attribute this to their intimidating appearance, with sharp thorns, large eyes, and scuttling legs, but many also attribute their low popularity to the painful stings and bites they can give if mishandled. Enthusiasts adore them and often assure people that they are surprisingly social little creatures, often interacting with other members of their communal webs and producing elaborate, color-changing displays toward larger creatures, though whether for defense or some other form of communication, no one is quite sure. The spiders are generally difficult to train, but they can become accustomed to a person's presence over time. Those who keep large colonies can even "milk" the venom from their spines with the proper tools. Each spider produces only a tiny amount of venom, so specialized extraction spells are often used on the whole colony at once, but even then it can take weeks for the spiders to replenish their venom stores. Because of the effort involved in extracting the venom, and the lack of spider farmers, thornweb venom can go for a hefty price in potions markets.
Obtained from: Event, Halloween, Retired
Renaming cost: 2000 gold
Release date: October 26th 2017
Sprite art: Mysfytt | Description: PKGriffin