A while back ( May 27th 2013) I published a post about insects and spiders in my garden. One of the spiders was called Pisaura mirabilis. It is quite big and is a type of hunting spider. There were lots of them in my garden. The particular blog is http://poitoucharentesinphotos.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/garden-insects-and-spiders-in-poitou-charentes/ should you want to see it in the raw.
I noticed the spider when I was weeding a bit of so-called vegetable garden, mostly dandelions and nettles. My attention was drawn to her partly because she was quite big but mainly because her abdomen (back bit) looked as though she had a woolly jumper on. Close examination after I had coaxed her into a jam jar showed that the woolly jumper was in fact lots of babies. I left her in the jar for a while because coffee was ready and then after coffee break, which is more important than spiders, I tipped the spider out on to the lawn in order to photograph her and let her on her way.
However the spider was now reluctant to leave the jam jar so I gave the jar a gentle bash to persuade the spider out. This was achieved but the slightly violent motion resulted in virtually all the baby spiders dispersing from the mother’s back. I did feel a bit guilty at having made approximately 40 spiders homeless.
‘The mother spider remained more or less motionless for about an hour and during this time the babies gradually found their way back to home base. When all was back to normal I did take a few photos and then I left her alone. She presumably went on her way, no doubt muttering about ‘bloody wild life photographers’