28th June 2014

The Nursery Web Spider is much easier to see at present, because the female, which is grey, yellowish or brown, with a tapered, long body and a pale streak along the middle of its carapace, is guarding its wonderful Nursery Web. The male, generally darker, with a smaller abdomen, will have offered the female a ‘gift’ of a dead insect wrapped in silk, before pairing and mating On the earlier blog I did about a Nursery Web Spider the silk-bound parcel was visible.) Studies have shown that the bigger the gift, the longer mating will be and the higher the number of eggs laid and fertilised. The female carries the large egg-sacs about under her fangs until they are about to hatch. This is the point where she deposits the egg-sac on a leaf and spins the protective silk Nursery Web tent around the sac, before gently opening the sac for the spiderlings (they really are called that!) emerge. You can see hundreds inside the webs in the photos. She stands guard until their first moult, when they emerge from the web and fend for themselves. Nursery Web Spiders don’t spin a web for catching food. They have great vision and are superb hunters, basking in the sun on the top of brambles and or nettles until prey comes along and then pouncing with great accuracy! Conditions: In Sheffield – cloudy and cool. Temperature: Max 14- Min 10 C.

Nursery Web Spiderlings in their protective web-tent

Nursery Web Spiderlings in their protective web-tent

 

Female Nursery Web Spider.

Female Nursery Web Spider.

 

Nursery Web female guarding her spiderlings in the web-tent.

Nursery Web female guarding her spiderlings in the web-tent.

 

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