Nursery Web Spider – Pisaura mirabilis

Body length male 10-13mm, female 12-15mm. A variable spider, with either bold markings or they may be abscent. The colour ranges from grey to yellowish, to dark brown. Males are similar to females, but they have slighly smaller abdomens which is quite clearly marked.

The females make tent-like nursery webs just before the spiderlings hatch which she guards. She also carries the eggs in a ball beneath her body which she holds in her jaws. Spiders of this family do not construct webs to catch their food but hunt their prey on the ground, or on the surface of still water. They feed on insects and other invertebrates. Nursery Spiders are known for their unusual courtship behaviour, in which the female requires a present from the male before mating, an insect wrapped in silk.

The adults are seen June to August. Found in grassland, heathland, and woodland clearings. The adults enjoy basking in the sun. Common and widespread throughout.