Nursery Web Spider

Nursery Web Spider ©David Longshaw

Nursery web spider

Scientific name: Pisaura mirabilis
A common spider of heathland and grassland, the Nursery web spider has brown and black stripes running the length of its body. It is an active hunter, only using its silk to create a protective tent for its young.

Species information

Statistics

Body length: 1.5cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to July

About

The Nursery web spider is a common spider of grassland and scrub, and is often seen sunbathing among Brambles and Stinging Nettles. The adults are active hunters and do not spin a web to catch food, instead using a quick sprint to capture flies and other insects. The female carries her large, round egg-sac in her fangs. When the young are about to hatch, she builds a silk sheet among the vegetation to act as a tent, sheltering them until they are old enough to leave on their own.

How to identify

The Nursery web spider is a relatively large, slender-bodied spider. It is pale grey-brown with a pattern of dark brown and black stripes running the length of its body.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Mating is a dangerous game for male Nursery web spiders, so they present a gift of food to the female while laying perfectly still and pretending to be dead. When the female investigates the food, the male will suddenly jump up and mate with her.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers, landowners and planners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.