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100 More species #85: Nursery web spider

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Nursery web spider Pisaurina mira

Alexis came into the house to get me, "the biggest spider I've ever seen around here!" I would say that it's about tied for size with the Argiope yellow-and-black garden spiders and Carolina wolf spiders that are both known from our area (but not yet from our yard). I instantly thought of fishing spiders, but of course we aren't near enough to water for that to be right.

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But then there was this structure--a few leaves folded and wrapped with silk into a nursery for a few dozen baby spiders. My brain recalled that there was something called a "nursery web spider," but I didn't have any other information in there. The pics of the spider's face were close enough that I could make out the eye arrangement--the most important feature for narrowing down an identification to family. Most spiders have eight eyes, this spider's eyes look like two eyes, two big nostrils, and a jack-o-lantern smileI looked through the very handy Spiders of the North Woods, and then the bugguide spider face chart, to finally come to see...the nursery web spider. Bugguide also points out that there are at least 6 distinctive color patterns of this species--the one depicted in Spiders of the North Woods looked nothing like my specimen. There's only one nursery web spider found in our area, and it's Pisaurina mira.

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How YOU doin'?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 7th, 2013 12:01 am (UTC)
She is a big fucker!

All day today in London I've been taking tiny spiders off peoples' heads and faces.
Jul. 7th, 2013 12:35 am (UTC)
EEK! ;)
Jul. 7th, 2013 03:30 am (UTC)
Once again - I love your lj. HOWEVER - if I ever find her in my house, I'm dropping a telephone book on her and then having a meltdown.
Jul. 8th, 2013 09:06 am (UTC)
We have Nursery Web Spiders here in the UK, but just the one species, Pisaura mirabilis. It seems to be very scarce this year, probably taken a knock from the recent spate of cold winters.

Jul. 9th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
Those aren't uncommon in my garden, though the population fluctates from year to year. They seem to particularly like black-eyed susan and coneflower leaves to web up.
Jul. 9th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
Good to know! Of course, you're down there in the subtropics where giant spiders and lawn crayfish run rampant.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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