Thu, 21 May 2020
WHEN Heather Whetter was wandering round her garden in Hermitage she was surprised to come across this spider soaking up the sunshine.
Mrs Whetter, a retired ecologist, specialising in botany, said: "I hadn't seen such a spider before. It looks like it has huge wide legs, but actually it is two each side close together, so a bit deceptive."
After posting this picture on the Hermitage community Facebook page and asking 'Amazing spider in my garden. Is there a spider expert out there who knows what species it is? Very impressive', Mrs Whetter was reliably informed by other members of the group that it is a Nursery web spider - others were not so keen!
In response to one resident who is not a fan of spiders, Mrs Whetter said: 'Quite like them, so long as not on me. Although can pick one up at a push to rescue from the bath.'
According to the Wildlife Trusts website the Nursery web spider is 'a common spider of grassland and scrub, and is often seen sunbathing among Brambles and Stinging Nettles. The adults are active hunters and do not spin a web to catch food, instead using a quick sprint to capture flies and other insects. The female carries her large, round egg-sac in her fangs. When the young are about to hatch, she builds a silk sheet among the vegetation to act as a tent, sheltering them until they are old enough to leave on their own'.
It grows up to 1.5cm and is most commonly spotted between May and July.
Mrs Whetter added: "It's not rare apparently, but I thought it was very impressive never the less."
After taking the photograph, Mrs Whetter left the spider to carry on with its sunbathing.