Sunday 1 April 2012

New resident male nursery web spider

We have spent much of the day out, sorting out the garden and pottering about the house. In one of the comings and goings I noticed a male nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) sunbathing by our garden gate. By its size I think it is a subadult. I have blogged on this spider before because of its peculiar mating behaviour. The male offers the female a wrapped up prey and plays dead. The females carry their large egg sac in their chelicerae until the spiderlings hatch, but they build a 'nursery web', in the shape of a tent, which they guard and where her spiderlings develop before dispersing. This is an obvious spider that likes to sit in the open with its legs stretched, relying on its camouflage to remain undetected. The photo above, taken by my 9 yr old daughter with her Canon Powershot A495, shows the eye arrangement and striking colour pattern nicely. A beautiful spider, I hope to come across it more often.
A close up of the spider, showing the enlarged palps
Typical posture of Pisaura mirabilis with outstretched pair of front legs

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