Bishop Auckland, County Durham: This nursery web spider has woven a protective nursery around a folded burdock leaf
Last week I spotted a nursery web spider crouching in a fleck of sunlight in the undergrowth. Motionless, camouflaged in shades of brown, she was well hidden among the dead leaves. Only her pea-sized white egg cocoon – carried under her jaws, forcing her to stand on tiptoes on her long legs – gave her away.
Since then, motherhood has progressed. Sensing the stirring of spiderlings in the ball of eggs under her body, she had woven a protective nursery around a folded burdock leaf. Now she sits on top of the silken tent, defending her brood in characteristic pose, front pair of legs on each side held close together, so at first glance she seems to have only six limbs.