Nursery web spider

The breeding season of the reserve’s nursery web spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) can extend well into September.

Nursery web spiders are active hunters; they do not build their webs to trap their prey. It is the female spider that constructs the web as a protective tent for her newly hatched young.

She 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 these 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

This post was first published in September 2019

Another of the park’s arachnids:

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