Pisaura mirabilis

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Nursery web spider
Pisaura mirabilis on Plantago lanceolata.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Pisauridae
Genus: Pisaura
Species: P. mirabilis
Binomial name
Pisaura mirabilis
(Clerck, 1757)
Female carrying egg sack

The nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis is a spider species of the family Pisauridae.

It was described in chapter 5 of the book Svenska Spindlar by the Swedish arachnologist and entomologist Carl Alexander Clerck.


The male is between 10–13 mm, while the female is 12–15 mm.[1]

Mating system[edit]

Males of this species offer a nuptial gift to potential female mates. Some Pisaura mirabilis have also been observed to use thanatosis during courtship.[2] After presenting the nuptial gift to the female she bites on to the gift and the male moves to her epigyne to deposit sperm with his pedipalps. Throughout copulation the male keeps a leg on the gift so as to be ready if she tries to escape with it or attack him. At this time the male may feign death – his limbs become straight and he is dragged along with the female while holding on to the gift. When the female stops the male will slowly "resurrect" and continue attempting to mate.[2] Thanatosis in Pisaura mirabilis has been observed to significantly increase the male's odds of successfully copulating from less than 30% to 89%.[2][3]

Further reading[edit]

  • P. M. Brignoli: A Catalogue of the Aranea described between 1940 and 1981. Manchester Univ. Press, 1983
  • C. D. Dondale, R. Legendre: Winter diapause in a Mediterranean population of Pisaura mirabilis (Clerck). Bull. Br. Arach. Soc. 2
  • A. Lang: Silk investment in gifts by males of the nuptial feeding spider Pisaura mirabilis (Araneae, Pisauridae). Behaviour 133, 1996
  • A. Lang: A note on body size parameters and some life data of Pisaura mirabilis (Araneae, Pisauridae). Proc. XV. Eur. Coll. Arachnol. 111-115, 1995
  • A. Lang, C. Klarenberg: Experiments on the foraging behaviour of the hunting spider Pisaura mirabilis (Araneae, Pisauridae): Utilisation of single prey items. Eur. J. Ent. 94, 1997
  • R. Nitzsche: "Brautgeschenk" und Umspinnen der Beute bei Pisaura mirabilis, Dolomedes fimbriatus und Thaumasia uncata (Arachnida, Araneida, Pisauridae). Verh. naturwiss. Ver. Hamburg (NF) 30: 353-393, 1988 (with an English summary)
  • R. Nitzsche: Beutefang und Brautgeschenk bei der Raubspinne Pisaura mirabilis (CL.)(Aranea, Pisauridae). Reprint der Diplomarbeit von 1981. Rainar Nitzsche Verlag, Kaiserslautern, 2006, ISBN 978-3-930304-73-8
  • R. Nitzsche: Brautgeschenk und Reproduktion bei Pisaura mirabilis, einschließlich vergleichender Untersuchungen an Dolomedes fimbriatus und Thaumasia uncata (Araneida, Pisauridae). Reprint der Dissertation von 1987 (Thesis). Rainar Nitzsche Verlag, Kaiserslautern, 2006, ISBN 978-3-930304-74-5
  • R. Nitzsche: Die Spinne mit dem Brautgeschenk Pisaura mirabilis (CLERCK, 1757) und das Paarungsverhalten verwandter Arten der Familie Pisauridae. 2. aktualisierte Auflage von: Das Brautgeschenk der Spinne. Rainar Nitzsche Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-930304-62-2 (the world's sole monograph written in German, a publishing house for an English edition is searched)
Pisaura mirabilis
  • Rainar Nitzsche: Brautgeschenke bei Spinnen - die heimische Pisaura mirabilis (CLERCK, 1757) und ihre Verwandten, die Kinderstubennetzspinnen (Pisauridae). Arachne 13 (1): 11-29, 2008
  • Rainar Nitzsche: Courtship, mating and agonistic behaviour in Pisaura mirabilis (CLERCK, 1757). Bull. Br. arachnol. Soc. 15 (4): 93-120, 2011


  1. ^ "Pisaura mirabilis". Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  2. ^ a b c Hansen, S. H., Gonzalez S. F., Toft, S., & Bilde, T. (2008). Thanatosis as an adaptive male mating strategy in the nuptial gift-giving spider Pisaura mirabilis. Behavioral Ecology 19: 546-551. doi:10.1093/beheco/arm165
  3. ^ "Spiders play dead to get laid". New Scientist magazine (2645). February 27, 2008. p. 19. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]