There are spiders and then there are really cool spiders. Meet Pisaurina mira, one of Florida’s prettiest and coolest Nursery Web Spiders. They get their name because of the webbing nest the female builds for her spiderlings.
Although Florida is home to several species of Nursery Web Spider, P. mira is probably the most common. You may have seen one in your yard, or maybe on or in your home. They are found throughout Florida.
One of their favorite places to hang out is in the forest, where they can be seen hanging upside down on tree trunks waiting for dinner to pass by. They can also be found in fields on tall grass and shrubs.
Just like many spiders, they have eight eyes…the better to see you with! Nursery Web Spiders can grow to nearly ¾ of an inch, which is about 15mm. Also like many spiders, they feed on insects and other small critters. What’s even more interesting, Nursery Web Spiders do not construct webs to capture their prey. They do this by ambushing the insect or chasing it down!
Mating can be quite tricky for some species of male Nursery Web Spiders. If he’s off his game, he could become her next meal. He must offer her a “nuptial gift” before mating begins. The male captures an insect, gift-wraps it in silk, and slowly brings it to her. Now, some males are slick and offer a fake gift, but she, being very smart, refuses it and chases him off or may even eat him! The larger the gift the more time he will spend with her. When all is said and done, the male often takes the nuptial gift back from her and crawls away. Geez…Go figure! Guys, think about this on Valentine’s Day.