Subject: Magnificent Spider
Geographic location of the bug: Peterborough, New Hampshire
Time: 08:54 PM EDT
This guy jumped off of a book shelf at me today while I was dusting. It is easily the size of a silver dollar. Safely released back into the wild. Can you identify it please?
How you want your letter signed: Zelda
Your magnificent spider is a Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mira. We are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award, though we suspect your home was cozier than the outdoors at this time of year. We are not certain if Nursery Web Spiders overwinter, but we suspect they do. Animal Diversity Web has a nice page on this species where it states: “Mating occurs in mid-June to mid-July. When a female is ready to lay her eggs, she uses her cheliceres and maxillipeds (grasping mouthparts) to transfer eggs into a cocoon under her abdomen. She carries this sac underneath her body with her fangs (cheliceres) until hatching time approaches. The female then builds another cocoon where she feels it will be safe for the spiderlings. She lashes surrounding leaves together forming a kind of ‘nursery web’ for which the species is named. The female stays there, watching over her brood of pulli (first stage larvae), until they have completed their first larval molt.”