Scientific research and published spider books 
by Dr. Rainar (O. M.) Nitzsche

Nuptial gifts, prey capture, post-immobilization wrapping, and biology of the Pisauridae Pisaura mirabilis, Thaumasia argenteonotata (uncata), Dolomedes fimbriatus and more

Spider books for adult and children

Art meets spider photography (Fantastic Spider Worlds) - Books, Greeting Cards and Posters



New 12.01.15 Spinnen-Sex und mehr (Spider-sex and more, written in German)

Fantastic Spider Worlds. Art meets nature photography.

Art meets spiders - Spinnenkunstwelten / Greeting cards, posters, canvas

Doctoral Thesis (to get the degree "Dr. rer. nat."). Reprint with additional colour plates about Pisaura mirabilis, Dolomedes fimbriatus and Thaumasia argenteonotata

Monograph about Pisaura mirabilis (both editions are out of print)

Papers about Pisaura mirabilis, Pisauridae

Spider books for children

Thesis (thesis to get the degree "Diplombiologe") about Pisaura mirabilis. Reprint with additional colour plates

Spider books published by Rainar Nitzsche Verlag - authors: Harald Braem, Rainar Nitzsche, Franz Renner (informations in German).

If you're interested in any spider book, please order it via your bookseller, e. g.  (German Amazon!).

Some books are also avaibable via
(however at the moment pressed inside not in colour, as far as I know).

Papers about nuptial gifts 
of Pisaura mirabilis, Thaumasia argenteonotata and other pisaurids (Araneae: Pisauridae)

Nitzsche, Rainar O. M. (2011):
Courtship, mating and agonistic behaviour in
Pisaura mirabilis (Clerck, 1757). - Bull. Br. Arachn. Soc. 15(4): 93-120 

Summary After a short review of literature, beginning with the discovery of the nuptial gift of the nursery-web spider Pisaura mirabilis (Clerck, 1757) in 1884 by Van Hasselt, The courtship, mating and agonistic behaviour, and peaceful coexistence of a female with two males in a planted terrarium are described (Table 1). Details of the normal mating process with a wrapped fly of different sizes are given (Figs. 3-10). Copulations occurred during both day and night. Eyesight seems to be of little importance for recognition of sexes and gift, apart from perceiving movements. Mating variations using a freshly caught unwrapped fly (Lucilia) (Figs. 11-12), a small fly (one Drosophila), a wrapped substitute (heather blossom, Fig. 13) and even without any gift (Figs. 14-15, 23) are shown (Table 4). Males can even perform successfully with females with prey or egg sacs and on nursery webs. Agonistic behaviour, gift robbery, disturbance of mating by a rival, a threesome with one female and two males, but also peaceful male-male encounters are described and illustrated (Figs. 16-23, Table 3). Intersexual aggression and sexual cannibalism are demonstrated and discussed. The so called “feigning death” of males (Fig. 8) is considered as an evolutionarily stabled trick of the male to maintain contact with the female within the dense layer of the herbaceous stratum if she suddenly runs away after a disturbance, or simply for recovering the gift. This behaviour also occurs when two males share one gift (Fig. 22) and try to copulate with each other (Fig. 19). The benefits and disadvantages of the different kinds of gifts, evolution of the gift, its functions and the degree of cannibalism are discussed. Comparisons with the mating behaviour of related Pisauridae and Trechaleidae species using gifts and silk in courtship are made, and suggestions for further research are given.

Nitzsche, Rainar (2008): Brautgeschenke bei Spinnen – die heimische Pisaura mirabilis (Clerck, 1757) und ihre Verwandten, die Kinderstubennetzspinnen (Pisauridae). - Arachne 13 (1): 11-29 (written in German with English summary)

Summary The European nursery-web spider Pisaura mirabilis is introduced, especially an overview of its sexual behaviour is given. Courtship and copulation are described in detail. Its nuptial gift, i.e. prey captured and enwrapped with silk by males, is not unique among spiders. Such gifts are also known from other pisaurid species: Pisaura lama and Perenethis fascigera from Japan, Thaumasia argenteonotata from Panama and Tinus peregrinus from the USA, furthermore of three Paratrechalea-species (Trechaleidae). Notes on the mating behaviour of Dolomedes, Pisaurina, Tetragonophthalma and Thalassius with (or without) spinning threads around the females legs by the males before copulation and other kinds of gifts in Metellina segmentata and Archaea vadoni are added. Photographs of hunting-webs of Pisaura mirabilis, Dolomedes fimbriatus and Thaumasia argenteonotata, the densely woven nursery-web of a Pisaura species from Turkey and the capture of a frog metamorph by a Thalassius species of Borneo are presented.

Nitzsche, Rainar O. M. (1988): “Brautgeschenk” und Umspinnen der Beute bei Pisaura mirabilis, Dolomedes fimbriatus und Thaumasia uncata (Arachnida, Araneida, Pisauridae).
Verh. naturwiss. Ver. Hamburg (NF) 30: 353-393
(written in German with English abstract and detailed summary with links to all figs. including diagrams and SEM-photos)

Rainar O. M. Nitzsche, Kaiserslautern: Nuptial gift and immobilization of prey by Pisaura mirabilis, Dolomedes fimbriatus and Thaumasia uncata (Arachnida, Araneae, Pisauridae) (translated title with new systematic terms). Paper written in German with many SEM photographs of enwrapped prey and an English summary. Note: T. uncata is a synonym of T. argenteonotata: (pdf)

Abstract: Not only males but also females, penultimate males and even the first instars of Pisaura mirabilis, both sexes and spiderlings of Dolomedes fimbriatus and of Thaumasia uncata show post-immobilization wrapping of prey. Males of Thaumasia probably produce nuptial gifts for their mates as Pisaura males do. SEM photographs demonstrate surface structures of wrapped prey. Wrapping frequencies of different groups of Pisaura and Dolomedes are compared. Prey and nuptial gifts of Pisaura are presented.

Summary in English

Doktorarbeit / Thesis (to get the degree "Dr. rer. nat.")

Nitzsche, R. O. M. (1987): „Brautgeschenk“ und Reproduktion bei Pisaura mirabilis, einschließlich vergleichender Untersuchungen an Dolomedes fimbriatus und Thaumasia uncata (Araneida: Pisauridae). Dissertation, Univ. Kaiserslautern

Nuptial gift and reproduction of Pisaura mirabilis, including comparative examinations of Dolomedes fimbriatus and Thaumasia uncata (Araneida: Pisauriade). Thesis, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany (microfiche, out of print)

New 2006, Reprint of the Thesis with additional colour plates

Rainar Nitzsche: »Brautgeschenk« und Reproduktion bei Pisaura mirabilis, einschließlich vergleichender Untersuchungen an Dolomedes fimbriatus und Thaumasia uncata (Araneida: Pisauridae). Reprint der Dissertation von 1987. Zusätzlich mit Farbfotos von Balz und Kopulation der drei Arten auf dem Innen- und Außencover.

25 nummerierte, handsignierte Exemplare. 346 Seiten Format DIN A4, 35 EUR, ISBN 978-3-930304-74-5

Contents: Ontogenese und Lebenszyklus / Freiland-Brautgeschenke / Umspinnen der Beute / Spermanetze und Spermaaufnahme / Balz und Kopulation (Ablauf bei einem Paar ohne Brautgeschenk und mit verschiedenen Brautgeschenkarten inkl. Ersatzobjekten / agonistisches und sexuelles Verhalten zwischen zwei Spinnenmännern bei einer Pisaura-Frau / Balz und Kopulation bei Dolomedes und Thaumasia / Reproduktion (Kokonzahl, Eizahl, Jungenzahl, Kopulationserfolg mit verschiedenen Brautgeschenkarten bei Pisaura, Fortpflanzung bei Thaumasia).  contents

Diplomarbeit (thesis to get the degree "Diplom-Biologe")

Nitzsche, R. O. M. (1981): „Beutefang und „Brautgeschenk“ bei der Raubspinne Pisaura mirabilis (CL.) (Araneae, Pisauridae). Diplomarbeit, Univ. Kaiserslautern

Prey capture and nuptial gift of the nursery web spider Pisaura mirabilis (CL.) (Araneae, Pisauriadae). Dissertation, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany

New 2006, Reprint of the dissertation with additional colour plates
Rainar Nitzsche: Beutefang und »Brautgeschenk« bei der Raubspinne Pisaura mirabilis (CL.) (Araneae: Pisauridae). Reprint der Diplomarbeit von 1981

Zusätzlich mit Farbfotos
vom Leben in der Krautschicht, Beutefang, Kannibalismus, Balz und Kopulation auf dem Innen- und Außencover. 25 nummerierte, handsignierte Exemplare. 238 Seiten, Format DIN A4, 30 EUR. ISBN 978-3-930304-73-8

Lebenszyklus / Netze bei Inadulten, Stratumwahl, Kopfunterposition / Beutespektrum / Beutefang / Umspinnen der Beute (bei Inadulten, weiblichen und männlichen Spinnen) / »Brautgeschenk« (erste Anfertigung, Form, Umspinnvorgang, Tragezeit) / Balz und Kopulation (Erregungsformen und -auslöser, Häufigkeit, (fotografisch dokumentierte Kopulationsabläufe mit und ohne Brautgeschenk, Umspinnverhalten während der Balz, Aggressives Verhalten der Geschlechter).
Diskussion: Schutzfärbung, Vaganz und Sessilität, Beutebeteiligung und Umspinnen innerhalb der Araneae und Insecta, Funktion und Evolution von Brautgeschenken bei Pisaura mirabilis, Meta segmentata, Bittacidae, Empididae und Vertebrata. contents
Dr. rer. nat. Rainar Nitzsche Die Spinne mit dem Brautgeschenk

 = Second enlarged and revised edition (2007) of "Das Brautgeschenk der Spinne"
ISBN 978-3-930304-62-2

The spider with the nuptial gift, written in German
out of print, perhaps still available at second hand bookshops in the internet. 

292 pages, more than 300 photos, graphics and diagrams plus colour photos on the inside and outside covers 
of Pisaura mirabilis, Thaumasia argenteonotata and further undetermed pisaurids of Panama
20 tables, an overview of all pisaurid species and the species with nuptial gifts (Perenethis, Pisaura, Thaumasia, Tinus), Index, The first und unique monograph of Pisaura mirabilis, literature until end of 2006 
and notes and photographs of the mating behaviour of Dolomedes fimbriatus and Thaumsia argenteonotata are included.

Spinnen-Sex und mehrNew 12.01.15

Rainar Nitzsche
Spinnen-Sex und mehr
Spinnenbiologie, Mensch und Spinne
Was Sie niemals wissen wollten - und doch jetzt hier erfahren 
Courtship and mating behaviour, especially nuptial gifts of Pisaura mirabilis, other pisaurids and trechaleids, sexual cannibalism, poisonous spiders, fear and love, senses, species of middle Europe, spider of the year and many more. Actual knowledge of spiders.

216 pages with 161 colour photos, 13 tables, 22 graphics / art, 10x information / action, 269 technical terms, index of spider species. Paperback, ISBN 978-3-930304-19-6 

17,95 EUR (D), 18,50 EUR (A), 25,90 SFr (CH)

For adult people (16 years and older) because of sexual parts (sado-maso-sodomy: sex with spiders?!) at the beginning of the first chapter.

Menschen und Spinnen -
Sex mit Spinnen?, Ekel vor, Liebe zu den Achtbeinern, Spinnenbiologie
Da sitzen und krabbeln sie auf Bauch und Frauenbrüsten, die einen ganz real, die anderen im Foto montiert. So geht es los. Dann kommt der Sachbuchteil, dazwischen die Frage, ob Spinnen Zuneigung und Liebe zu ihren Kindern und Sexualpartnern empfinden, am Ende noch Spinnenkunst - nein, nicht ihre Netze, sondern Fotos von Spinnen, künstlerisch verfremdet machen aus ihnen wahrhafte Aliens.

Look into the book: Blick ins Buch bei                         Blättern im Buch bei
Spinnen - ganz aktuell
Sex: Haben Spinnenweibchen wirklich nur das Eine im Sinn? Nein und ja, das ist natürlich auch gemeint. Um Sex geht es zwischen den Geschlechtern immer. Sie aber denken  sicherlich sofort an etwas Anderes in diesem Zusammenhang: Fressen alle Weibchen ihre arteigenen Männchen auf? Warum sind sie dann nicht längst ausgestorben? Wie häufig kommt diese Art von Kannibalismus vor? Sie hat ihn zum Fressen gern, okay. Und er? Ist es gar für ihn von Vorteil, von ihr verspeist zu werden? Doch da ist ja noch viel mehr: Tod beim Sex aus Erschöpfung. Seine Selbstverstümmelung und Kastration während des Aktes durch sie. die Balz vor der Paarung - tanzende Männchen am Tag und Trommler in der Nacht, Brautgeschenke, »Liebesfesseln« aus Seide, »Vergewaltigungen« und alte Weibchen sind zum Fressen da, junge für den Sex.
Unsere Angst, ihr Aussehen, ihre Sinne und ihre Biologie: Mütter und Kinder, soziale Arten, Spinnenrekorde, die Spinne des Jahres. Was wir von ihnen lernen können (Bionik). Giftigkeit. Die wichtigsten heimischen und die für uns giftigsten Arten. Vogelspinnen.
Neueste Forschung verständlich vom Fachmann erklärt. Farbfotos der heimischen und giftigsten Arten. Spinnenkunst.

Nitzsche Spinnen lieben lernenNEW 2013, October 
My second spider book for young readers - written in German, 2nd edition (first entitled "Spinnen") 

Rainar Nitzsche: Spinnen lieben lernen (Learning to love spiders)
Warum sie vor uns Angst haben. Aktuelles Spinnenwissen.
(Why they fear us. Actual knowledge about spiders.)

This book for young people (10-16 years of age) addresses the actual knowledge about morphology and biology of spiders. Especially species of Central Europe are presented in colored photographs. Focus areas are: Arachnophobia and toxicity, spider records, mating with nuptial gifts, social species plus the use of silk, poison and haemolymph in actual and future bionics.

ISBN 978-3-930304-83-7

92 pages, 92 figures (86 color photos 1 color graphic, 2 blackandwhite illustrations), Paperback, 8.6 x 6.6 inches, Price $ 11.84  --- Attention!!! If interested you have to import the book from Germany  because the body of the book printed in US/UK is only monochrome.

Unlike "Spinnen kennen lernen" this book is cheaper (only EUR 10.90 within Germany), suitable for younger readers and better readable: two-columned with less text. However, there are less photos and less chapters.
Look inside the book at Google books
Also available as e-book 978-3-930304-84-4

Spinnen kennen lernenNEW January 30, 2012 - My first spider book for young readers - written in German
English, French, Spanish, Italian and other European language versions would be very interesting. Hints are welcome.
A book about spiders - viewing, reading, astonishing - with space for notices of own observations. Spinnen kennen lernen

Rainar Nitzsche: Spinnen kennen lernen (Getting to Know Spiders)
Eklig, giftig oder zum Kuscheln? Wie Spinnen wirklich sind . (Ugly, poisonous or stuffed animals? The reality about spiders.)

This book for young people (12 years of age and over) addresses the actual knowledge about morphology and biology of spiders. Especially species of Central Europe are presented in colored photographs. Focus areas are: Arachnophobia and toxicity, spider records (with informations about errors in the actual Guinness Book) and scientific names, mating with nuptial gifts, social species plus the use of silk, poison and haemolymph in actual and future bionics.

ISBN 978-3-930304-92-9, 136 pp., Paperback, 8.6 x 6.6 inches, Price $ 21.00
If you are interested in this book, please contact your bookseller.
Look inside the book at Google books  Attention!!! If interested you have to import the book from Germany  because the body of the book printed in US/UK is only monochrome.

Also available as e-book 978-3-930304-93-6

Art meets Spiders - Spinnenkunstwelten
poster und Kunstdrucke kaufen  New since 2011 Photos of spiders (other animals and more) - artificially changed as postcards, posters, gallery-reprints by Dr. Rainar Nitzsche ( please cross "Spinne" = spider for faster results).
New 2013: Fantastic Spider Worlds. Art meets nature photography. My first book written in English. Just published.
Attention!!! If interested you have to import the book from Germany  because the body of the book printed in US/UK is only monochrome

Fantastic Spider Worlds
Rainar Nitzsche: Fantastic Spider Worlds
Art meets nature photography
Photographs of spiders - artistically changed and transformed to visions of strange and extraterrestrial creatures - aliens?
 ISBN 978-3-930304-91-2   

133 photographs, 64 pp, price in Germany 14,90 EUR
Published in march 2013
Look into the book via google
Dr. Rainar Nitzsche (born December 27, 1955 in Berlin) lives in Kaiserslautern. 
He studied biology, doing his thesis on a spider subject. 
He has photographed animals since childhood, and has published several books about spiders, writing short stories and poems illustrated partly with his own photographs. 
In 2010 he had his first exhibition of spider photos - real and artistically changed.
What you see, is a female of the Mexican redrump Brachypelma vagans 
leaning head upwards on the author’s chest, i.e. not far from his heart.
Common spider names.............................................. 5CAGED SPIDER PAIR (Nephila sp.)
Scientific classification ............................................... 5
Photographic art ....................................................... 6
Garden spiders (Araneidae) ........................................ 6
Tarantulas (Theraphosidae) ...................................... 18
Golden Orb-weavers (Nephilidae) .............................. 28
Sheet weavers (Linyphiidae) .................................... 29
Jumping spiders (Salticidae)..................................... 31  
Prey capture with the Orb-web ................................. 34
Crab spiders (Thomisidae) - camouflaged predators .... 36
Nursery-web Spiders (Pisauridae) lie in wait for prey ... 40
Hunting of Lynx Spiders (Oxyopidae) ......................... 42
Jumping Spiders hunting by sight (Salticidae) ................. 43
Molting .................................................................. 44
Courtship and Mating ............................................... 48
Caring for the brood ........................ 60
Index .................................................................... 62
Titles of photographs and artworks ............................ 63

NEW 2010  - The 2nd book with artificially changed photographs of spiders, more professional and expansive than the first (see below):

Spinnenkunstwelten 2Rainar Nitzsche: Spinnenkunstwelten 2 (Art meets Spiders 2)

In contrast to the 1st book (Spinnenkunstwelten, see below) this time the spiders are arranged systematically (families), additionally to the artificially changed photos there are real photos for comparition, there are also short notes and lyrics (in German) added.

The book: 17,5 x 22,5 cm, hardcover binding, 52 pages, 86 color photos of spiders (67 artificially changed, 19 realistic), price: 25 EUR, ISBN 978-3-930304-86-8

You get this book (and all other books) via your bookseller, e.g. Amazon (free of charge in Germany).
However, you can also order directly by an e-mail to the publisher i. e. the author (within Europe postage free, air mail plus 1 EUR, air mail worldwide plus 3 EUR, you get the book with an invoice and the hint, how to pay in the cheapest way. Any questions? - mail!).

The book contains pictures of  (families in alphabetical order) Agelenidae (Agelena labyrinthica), Araneidae (Argiope bruennichi, Larinoides cornutus) Clubionidae (Clubiona sp.), Linyphiidae (Linyphia sp.), Lycosidae (Pardosa sp.), Miturgidae (Cheiracanthium punctorium), Oxyopidae, Philodromidae, Pisauridae (Architis tenuis, Dolomedes fimbriatus, Pisaura mirabilis), Salticidae (Marpissa sp., Phidippus regius, Salticus scenicus), Theraphosidae (Acanthoscurria geniculata, Avicularia sp., Brachypelma vagans, Grammostola sp., Lasiodora erythrocythara, Lasiodora parahybana, Psalmopoeus cambridgei, Poecilotheria fasciata), Thomisidae (Diae dorsata, Misumena vatia). --- Attention, the demonstrated spiders were not exactly determed, i.e. some could be belong to related species. 

A book beyond science as present for friends of spiders, art fans and arachnologists.

NEW 2009
SpinnenkunstweltenRainar Nitzsche: Spinnenkunstwelten (Art meets Spiders)
38 colour photos of spiders, fantastically changed with different effects.
20 x 20 cm, hardcover binding, 36 pages, 20 EUR (within order via your bookseller, e.g. Amazon, free of postal charges), ISBN 978-3-930304-71-4

You can order the book sending an e-mail to me (if you order it from outside of Germany please ask for p&p costs, e. g. 1 copy within the EU sent via air mail: 20+3 EUR = 23 EUR)

It contains pictures of Acanthoscurria geniculata, Araneus diadematus, Architis sp., Argiope bruennichi, Misumena vatia, Phidippus regius, Pisaura mirabilis, Tegenaria sp., Thaumasia argenteonotata, Xysticus sp. in webs, with prey and gifts.

A book beyond science as present for friends of spiders, art fans and arachnologists.

Total number of copies published: only 40


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