Warning: This post may contain Spiders!
Hmmm… What’s this?
This is the home of a Nursery Web Spider…. and here she is, Pisaura mirabilis.
Pisaura mirabilis is the only species of Nursery Web Spider that we have in the UK so identification isn’t difficult. This one will be a female because I have found her guarding her web. These female spiders carry their eggs around with them in a big sack that they carry under their body. When the eggs are close to hatching she will deposit them in the web and stand guard over them, which is where we are now.
I found a couple of these webs a few weeks ago but I couldn’t find an adult spider. Those webs were full of spiderlings, maybe they had eaten their mother.
He has a way of avoiding being ate and it is known as”thanatosis.”
Thanatosis comes from a Greek word which means “Putting to death” and it is used to describe the act of playing dead. Grass Snakes do it and so do possums and so does our Spider.
When a male wants to mate with a female he brings her a gift, “Eat this instead of me,” during mating he keeps one hand on the gift because he doesn’t want to lose it and if she turns nasty he pretends to be dead until she calms down again. Love is a dangerous game.
This particular Spider seemed to want to eat me or at least my camera, she kept running up grass stems and waving her legs in my lens, unfortunately she was getting so close that those shots were all out of focus.
While I was out here I went to check on our Labyrinth Spider, no babies yet.