Saturday, December 14, 2019

A spiders year....

Last Christmas I was given a copy of the new Wildguides book, 'Britains Spiders'. This inspired me to look out for some of these much maligned creatures on my travels.

If you are on Facebook you should check out UK Spiders page. On here are real experts from the UK and abroad who can help with some tricky identifications. On here this year some members have been doing a spider year list, with Graeme Lyons finding 360+ species so far! The vast majority of these can only be identified with a microscope and specialist keys to work out the correct result.
For a novice like me, I am happy to just photograph what i find then see if I can sort it out. If not I try the experts.

Anyway, here are some of the ones that have crossed my path this year...

1. Arctosa cinerea the Grey Wolf Spider.
 When looking through the book one species in particular caught my eye. The Grey Wolf Spider Arctosa cinerea. This is a species of restricted distribution and is found on riverine shingle habitats in Wales, Northern England and Scotland. It was this northern distribution that attracted me as we have loads of good habitat in Northumberland with no one looking. We visited a likely looking site in the Cheviots in June finding 7 individuals without much trouble really. In winter these shingle beds are flooded by several feet of water from the hills, but these mini tarantulas just hide in a burrow under a rock and let the water run across them. A top creature.

A Cucumber Spider on a corncockle flower.
These little pea green spiders are common so I set about searching our garden and soon found this one. A gem of a spider...

Woodlouse Spider Dysdera crocata
The Woodlouse Spider lives around our sheds in the garden. It is an unusual looking spider being reddish with a body like a baked bean. As the name suggests those large jaws hunt and kill woodlice.

Ero furcata
I didnt expect to see this Ero on our shed. It has two pointed humps on its abdomen that are quite distinctive. It creeps around at night hunting other spiders.

Nursery Web Spider Pisaura miribilis
I just love these spiders. They are like 70s sport saloon, a Capri maybe in design and behaviour. With the yellow go-faster stripe down the thorax and its habit of running flat out to get away, its a top one to look out for. A common species but very few records for Northumberland. Ive had a few in the garden all year!

Goblin Spider Oonops species.
These tiny orange spiders can be one of two species both equally as common as the other. I found them in the bathroom, porch and moth trap. A tiny spider that moves in slow motion!

Four spotted Orb Weaver Araneus quadratus
Up here the Four spotted Orb Weaver is a species of the moors where it favours the strong bent stems of rushes for making its web. It is our heaviest spider and one I was pleased to find. About the size of a malteser.

I'll add some more soon.....


Gillian Osborne said...

Those photographs are AWESOME! They show off the sheer detail and BEAUTY that spiders possess. The Woodlouse Spiders DO still make me shudder a wee bit though as I found one on our bathroom floor when we lived in Lesbury in 2006....after seeing those jaws I was glad I wasn't a woodlouse!
Since getting the allotment and letting it *cough* run a bit wild I've taken so much delight in seeing all manner of smaller stuff appear and then having the 'fun' of trying to put names to them all. I've resigned myself to perhaps not knowing them all though ~ doing my best to ease up on my OCD tendencies with identification ~ as I refuse to kill anything just so I can check out minute details.

Stewart said...

Cheers Gillian, sorry for the delay in replying I forget to check for outstanding comments!