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Many people will be familiar with the nursery-web spider. The female builds a nursery of tough silk around her egg sac, amongst some foliage. It is though a hunter rather than a web-builder and has strong limbs and a trim abdomen.

One thing though is that a lot of people have never seen the actual spider. I remember going on a Waikato University Field Trip (as a tutor) and spotted one in the foliage. I pointed it out to the staff member in charge- Keith Thompson. I mentioned that its scientific name was Dolomedes minor. This provoked the retort of "…if that's minor, I'd hate to see Dolomedes major".

A few years later my sister sent me one from her garden to identify, as she was concerned that this was an invasive species. New Zealand spiders weren't supposed to be that big. Casual identification of spiders is just one of the in-family services I provide :)

The best way to see these spiders is actually at night-time. Most of NZ's spiders are actually more active at night. Of course, I appreciate not everyone gets thrilled by the idea of going into dark NZ bush at night to see the spiders frolicking.

So here's some pics from one evening's expedition:

Male

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Female guarding nursery web

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Closeup of female

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