Nursery Spiders



Nursery Spiders or what are those white things we see on roadside bushes ??

Female guarding the nursery. She is about 40mm long overall.

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.

Several Species

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

As seen from a distance

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.


Young spiders can be seen on the fern fronds, with the egg mass on the left.

After hatching the young eventually escape the nursery by parachuting away

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

Peter Tait

Peter Tait

Peter Tait is a professional nature guide based at Stewart Island, New Zealand, and he works primarily on Ulva Island Open Sanctuary. Peter has been resident on the Island for over 40 years and was one time Forest Ranger in Charge of Stewart Island. Fishing followed forestry and was in turn followed by Talisker, a 17m charter yacht. He is qualified Skipper Deep Sea Fishing Vessel. In addition to guiding Peter and his wife Iris are hosts at Sails Ashore Lodge.

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