Nursery Spiders or what are those white things we see on roadside bushes ??
We take them for granted as just part of the local scenery, but several of our overseas guests have asked me just that this summer.
The short answer is they are the “nursery” nests of a group of spiders native to New Zealand. And that was more or less my total understanding of them. But a little research added some interesting snippets.
There are several species and most are hunting spiders, not using the more obvious webs to capture prey. The only web made is for the nursery.
Mating can be somewhat fraught for the male, who will often present thefemale with food before mating. Thus occupied he can then “do his thing” and hopefully escape before she eats him. She will carry the egg mass in her jaws until just before
hatching, at which time she then builds her nursery, with the egg mass inside. This is apparently the only “web” this species will build.
Then from a concealed position she will guard the nursery until the young hatch. The photo above is somewhat unusual as this female was present actually on the nest for several days.
After hatching the young eventually escape the nursery by parachuting away