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Spider Babies and their Moms: Nursery Web Spiders (Pisaurina mira)

Posted by on September 25, 2022
American nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) babies — photo by D.K. Sanders-Weatherford

This five-legged nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) must have had an adventurous life. Somehow she wound up in my house and overwintered in there and put her egg sac in one of my plants, one that I don’t normally take outside in the summer. I didn’t notice her or the egg sac, but early this summer, I noticed the babies. They’re called nursery web spiders because they build this nursery out of web, and the mom hangs around and protects the babies. I had to take that plant outside, but I had plenty of time as baby spiders move out of the web so slowly; it usually takes them a few days or a week.

Nursery web mom protecting her children — photo by D.K. Sanders-Weatherford

The male nursery web spider brings the female a gift of a webbed up insect meal. Often he webs up an empty gift, thinking he can pull that off, but the female usually knows and rejects him and his empty gift. After mating, if the male survives, he usually takes his gift with him when he leaves.

American nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) mother and babies — photo by D.K. Sanders-Weatherford

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