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On a recent visit to Travis Wetland we saw many webs of the nursery web spider (Dolomedes minor), which builds a nest to protect its young.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2520

The spiders typically build these nursery in low growing shrubs, such as this Coprosma bush. The nest below is probably about to be vacated by the spiderlings.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2524

We did get a (somewhat blurry!) video of the seething mass of spiderlings.

We didn’t see any of the adult spiders, though apparently the females were probably hiding nearby – they guard the nests at night. The nest below is now empty, though there is a spider on the bottom left, perhaps a juvenile?

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2605

There is detailed information about the Dolomedes genus in New Zealand here. There are four species here, with Dolomedes minor being the most common.

For more photos, including of the adult spiders, see here.

The youngest and most eagle-eyed of us spotted a jumping spider making a meal of a fly. The fly had landed in the middle of a window pane and spider grabbed it. An impressive feat.

Jumping Spider with Fly - side view

This spider has six eyes. The pair at the front move in tandem and give the spider 3D vision for approaching and catching prey.

Jumping Spider with Fly - looking forward

Jumping Spider with Fly - looking up

The next day, the dried husk of the fly was on the window ledge and the spider was back patrolling the windows.