Name: Nursery Web Spider
Scientific name: Pisaura mirabilis
Nature Stars: 40
About: A common spider of grassland and scrub, often seen sunbathing amongst brambles and stinging nettles. The adults are hunters and don't spin a web to catch food. The female carries a large, round egg sac in her fangs. When they are about to hatch, she builds a silk sheet among the vegetation to act as a tent, sheltering the young until they are old enough to leave on their own.
How to identify: A relatively large, slender bodied spider, pale grey-brown with a pattern of darker brown and black stripes running the length of the body.
Fantastic fact: Male Nursery Web Spiders hold out a gift of food to the female, while laying perfectly still and pretending to be dead! When the females investigate the food, the males will suddenly jump up and mate with her.
Photograph credit: Elliott Neep