Nursery Web Spiders
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Scientific name: Pisaura mirabilis
Size: Head and body up to 15mm long
Distribution: Found throughout the UK
Months seen: March to September
Habitat: Usually found low vegetation especially nettle beds
Food: Flies and other small insects
Special features: Nursery web spiders are narrow bodied and can be grey or brown in colour. There is a pale stripe just behind the head, and the sides of the abdomen are also pale coloured. The top of the abdomen features a leaf shaped marking.
In early spring you can often find Nursery web spiders stretched out on stems and leaves sunning themselves. They wait for flies and other insects to pass by, and then use quick sprinting and strength to overpower them.
After mating, the female Nursery web spider lays her eggs into a silk cocoon which she carries around in her fangs. Just before the eggs hatch, she spins a silk tent (nursery web) and releases her spiderlings inside it. This tent offers them some protection for the first few days of their life. After their first moult they leave the tent. The female stays close to the tent until all the spiderlings have dispersed.