|Nursery Web Spider - Pisaurina sp. |
Family Pisauridae - Nursery Web and fishing spiders
Live adult male and female spiders photographed at Georgia and northern Illinois, USA.
Spider Index | Spider Main | Funnel Web | Orb Web | Nursery Web | Cobweb | Insects
The nursery web spider carries her egg-sac, or coccoon, under her body until near hatching. She then spins a protective web in which her hatchlings live until their first moult.
These spiders resemble the wolf spiders (Lycosidae), but have a different eye pattern. Pisaurids have their eyes arranged in 2 rows, the posterior row slightly recurved, the median eyes in the second row slighly (if any) larger than the others. (Wolf spiders have eyes arranged in 3 rows). The egg sac is carried by the female under her prosoma, held there by her chelicerae and pedipalps. It is further supported by silk lines to the spinnerets. 
Before the eggs hatch, the female attaches the sac to a plant and then builds a web around it. When the eggs inside are hatching, the momma spider opens the cocoon and releases the hatchlings -- then stands guard nearby. The hatchlings remain in the web until thier first moult. The Pisaurids forage for their food and build webs only for protecting their young.
Some spiders in this family, particularly fishing spiders in the genus Dolomedes, are quite large and may have a legspread of 75 mm or more.The Dolomedes spiders live near water; they walk on the surface of water and dive underneath it to feed on aquatic insects and even small fish. Fishing spiders also carry their egg-sac under their abdomen.
Nursery web filled with hundreds of spiderlings
1280 X 960
1024 X 768
Class Arachnida / Order Araneae: Spiders are the largest group of arachnids. They are easily recognized by their eight legs, and there are few creatures great or small that elicit such irrational fear in mankind. The vast majority of spiders are completely harmless and offer beneficial services, chief of which is keeping the burgeoning insect population in check. I am continually amazed at the resourcefulness of these supremely successful predators.
Spider Index | Spider Main | Funnel Web | Orb Web | Nursery Web | Cobweb