Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Grey Wolf...

 Back in January someone posted on here asking what were our spider targets for 2019.

I have only been a member here for a year and spiders are new to me even though I have been a Birder / Naturalist for 40 years.
Flicking through the field guide pages, one particular arachnid sprung to life for me, and that was the big hairy rare Arctosa cinerea, the Grey Wolf Spider.
Living in Northumberland where we have a plethora of fast flowing, stoney, upland rivers, so I thought I must stand a chance of locating one, until I read here some one had turned over hundreds of rocks in Wales and had not found any!
We have some older records of cinerea in Northumberland, and I knew of some good looking habitat to start in, so today we went to have a look.
We walked 30 yards and I turned over 3 stones - KaaaaaBooom! our very first Arctosa cinerea!! It did not leg it for cover as I expected a wolfie to do and just sat allowing prolonged views and photos. We continued for another hour and over about 100 metres or so, finding another 7 of them even having two under one stone. If we continued checking I am sure there would be many more, they were the commenest spider here.
We got our eye in on 'spider looking stones', ones about hand size, often balanced on another rock with a small niche underneath and sure enough one would be there. Some 'nests' were littered with legs of beetles and even a dead bee that had fallen prey to the spider.
A great morning!











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