August 12th, 2014
Over the past few years I have been documenting the lifecycle of the Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis), which can be found in good numbers in Derbyshire where I live.
The female goes to extreme lengths to ensure her offspring are protected, right from the moment they are laid as eggs. Mothers can be seen running through the long grass carrying their large spherical egg sac with their jaws and pedipalps. When the eggs are near to hatching, she builds a silk tent using plant stems for support and takes up residence inside.
Once the egg sac hatches the mother stands guard over her babies, patrolling the outside of the nursery web.
Only once all the spiderlings have dispersed will she move on. For me this is one of the sights of the summer and I have spent many happy hours photographing these fascinating spiders.
Notes on Photography:
All of these images were captured with a Canon 5d Mk III and 100mm macro lens. I use a tripod with no centre column (Gitzo Systematic Series) so that I can get the camera low to the ground.
All images and text copyright Alex Hyde – www.alexhyde.co.uk