Nursery web spider
A nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) photographed in the park by DKG on a dewy Sunday morning.
Nursery web spiders are hunters. They do not build their webs to trap their prey; a nursery web spider’s web is a protective tent for its newly hatched young.
The female spider carries her fertilised eggs beneath her body, in an egg sac, until they are nearly ready to hatch. She then builds a sheet web among dense vegetation and places the egg sac inside.
When the eggs hatch, the female remains nearby to protect the spiderlings until they leave the nest. In DKG’s pictures you can see the dew on the spider’s body and legs; she appears to have been on duty, out in the open on the wall of her web, all night.
Photos: adult spider by DKG; spiderlings by Suzanne Humphries
Another of the park’s arachnids: