The second generation N. madagascariensis suffered significantly from the problem of deformed legs, all cases dying consequently from starvation. The deformed spiders are incapable of building webs. My initial thought was to blame the deformity on inbreeding, but after researching the original brood's history and numerous consultations with more experienced spider breeders, this did not seem to be the case. Spiders can apparently be inbred 8 - 13 generations before problems occur. My spiders were only one generation inbred.
Dr. Peter Klaas, head of the insect department at the Cologne aquarium, proposed that such problems with the legs are caused by dehydration. Spiders must build up a layer of fluid between the old and the new skin during moulting. If the spider is dehydrated, it can manifest problems during the extraction of the legs. Starvation due to the inability to produce the external digestive fluids can also be caused by dehydration, even when food is hand fed. Nephila madagascariensis require nearly 100% humidity, as well as a mean temperature of 27 deg. Celcius, an environment which is extremely difficult to maintain in a temperate region. 37