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Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura Mirabilis
Family - Pisauridae
Also known as - Swamp Spiders

A common and widespread spider found throughout Britain and northern Europe but scarce in Scotland, it is the only member of the Pisaura genus in Britain.  Found in woodland clearings, grassland and heathland in long grass, shrubs or amongst hedgerows.  Variable in colour they can range from Grey to Brown having a slender tapering abdomen with a light stripe down the middle.  Males ♂ are smaller (about 12mm - 0.5in) than the females ♀ (25mm - 1in) and have more noticeable marking to the abdomen.  They are active hunters with good vision having eyes arranged in two rows unlike wolf spiders? that have three rows of eyes.  They can be seen in great numbers during the summer on low vegetation as well as on the ground.  When detecting prey, they characteristically rest on vegetation with the first two pairs of legs together, held out at an angle.

Mating can be a troublesome time for the male who risks being eaten by the female.  It had been supposed that the male presented the female with a gift of an insect wrapped in silk, however recent research has shown that this gift entices the female to mate and a larger gift results in longer copulation.  The female then produces an egg sac which she carries around beneath her body eventually depositing it on a leaf where the female then builds a covering "tent", guarding the young until they emerge.

Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis, click for a larger image Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis, click for a larger image Nursery Web Spider - Pisaura mirabilis, click for a larger image
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