Pisaurina mira (Nursery Web Spider)

About Pisaurina mira

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Pisauridae
→ Genus: Pisaurina
→ Species: Pisaurina mira

Common Name (Official / AAS)

Nursery Web Spider

Author

Author of species name: Charles Athanase Walckenaer. First year published: 1837, as Dolomedes mirus.

Meaning

Pisaurina is the feminized version of Pisaura, which Eugène Simon chose after the Latin name of the Pesaro River in Italy, Pisaurum (Cameron 2005). Mira is Latin for “wonderful” or “astonishing.”

Notable Previous Names

Pisaurina mira subinflata

Identifying Traits of Pisaurina mira

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 12-17 mm; adult males range from 10-15 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Pisaurina mira

Eyes

Total of eight eyes. When viewed from the front, two horizontal rows of four; the bottom (anterior) row is nearly straight while the top (posterior) row is recurved. Eyes of posterior row moderately larger than those of the anterior row.

Legs

Legs quite long, very long in males in proportion to body size. Coloration matches the base color of the body, which is some shade of brown or pale gray. Long, black spines are visible when closely examined. Mature individuals are large, “sprawling” spiders. They often adopt an “X”-shaped posture with front and hind pairs of legs held together. Tip of each leg has three claws.

Body

Overall tan, beige, buff, or pale gray with darker brown markings. There are at least six distinct color/pattern variations, which can make the species more difficult for the average person to identify. One of the most unique variations where the spider is mostly pale with a thin, dark brown line down the center of the body and dark brown bands at the leg joints is referred to as the “subinflata variation” (Bishop 1924). The body shape is the same no matter what the coloration, though. The cephalothorax is pear-shaped; abdomen rounded in the front, widest in the middle, and tapered towards the rear. Robust spiders. Gravid (egg-laden) females have very large abdomens. Adult males are very thin.

Range of Pisaurina mira

Pisaurina mira can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

We are not currently aware of any published records that show this species has been found in the province of Nova Scotia, however, there has not yet been significant and widespread sampling done there. The species is common in the rest of southeastern Canada (including New Brunswick) and the eastern USA and so we have assumed that it is also found within Nova Scotia, and have included that province in our list.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

This is a spider of forest edges and old fields, where it haunts the foliage of shrubs, bushes, tall grass and weeds. Look for these spiders waiting motionless in ambush on leaves and stems, both day and night. They also actively prowl in search of potential prey. They sometimes wait at outdoor lights at night in hopes of catching insects that congregate there.

Web

This is a powerful hunting spider that does not spin a prey-catching snare. Females will, however, construct a tangled “nursery web” among foliage where they will suspend their egg sac and guard the emerging spiderlings.

Season

These spiders mature in late spring, and reproduce in mid-summer. Nearly adult spiders overwinter in protected places, such as under rocks or loose bark.

Food

Prey is mostly insects that the spider simply overpowers.

Lifecycle

This species mates while suspended on a dragline, and the male binds the female’s first pairs of legs together by wrapping them with silk (Bruce & Carico 1988). The female lays eggs in spring or summer. The egg sac is a whitish sphere, approximately 15mm in diameter, held in the jaws of the female as she wanders. Right before the spiderlings emerge, the spider suspends her egg sac in a tangled “nursery web” amid foliage, frequently concealing the egg sac beneath a folded leaf. There she stands guard over the package and the spiderlings that later emerge from it. The spiderlings will remain in the nursery web until their next molt, at which time they disperse. They will overwinter as juveniles and reach maturity the following spring or summer.

Remarks

Pictures of Pisaurina mira (Nursery Web Spider)

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Fairfield
  • State: Maine
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Lima
  • State: Ohio
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Eastern Panhandle
  • State: West Virginia
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: South Deerfield
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: South Deerfield
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Lateral
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Egg Sacs
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Eyes
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral, Spiderlings, Webs
  • City/Region: New Haven
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Spiderlings, Webs
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: High Point
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Dawsonville
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Chepachet
  • State: Rhode Island
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Cincinnati
  • State: Ohio
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Lateral, Webs
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes, Gravid
  • State: New York
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Montgomery County
  • State: Arkansas
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Egg Sacs, Lateral
  • City/Region: High Place Lookout Tower
  • State: Missouri
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Plum Nelly
  • State: Georgia
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Athol, Worcester County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: High Point
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: High Point
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: High Point
  • State: North Carolina
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • State: Connecticut
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • State: Maine
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Penacook
  • State: New Hampshire
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Ann Arbor
  • State: Michigan
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Cape Cod
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Pisaurina mira
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Cape Cod
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: May 24, 2016

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