Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Pity Da Fool--Part II

I spent a little time online trying to identify the super testosterone spider I captured and released last night. Turns out it is a Nursery Web Spider, common here in Britain. There was an article in the Guardian today about how global warming has created conditions very favorable to spiders in the last few seasons, resulting in a huge population boom and many more human-spider encounters. Apparently, September is mating season, and so lots of new spiders found in the home are males on the prowl for mates. No wonder last night's spider was so wound up.

Here are a few facts about Pisaura mirabilis, gleaned from various web sites:

--Does not spin a web--hunts for prey by stalking. The female will make an egg sac and carry it around in her jaws until the eggs are nearly ready to hatch. She then constructs a tent-like protective "nursery web" and will stay to fend off predators from her young. Hence the name.

--Females often eat males during mating. In an effort to make mating less hazardous, the male will catch an insect, wrap it up and carry it around until he finds a female. He then presents it to her and mates with her while she is distracted by her meal. This lasts for about an hour or until the female has finished eating her gift.

--Many nursery spiders can run over the surface of water. The nursery spider is also called the fishing spider. They capture insects and sometimes tadpoles and small fish (holy shit!!).

--Relative of the wolf spider.

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