Thursday, 9 June 2016

I twitched a spider.

Yes. That's right. I twitched a spider and it was GREAT!

It's no secret that I love my invertebrates and there are a few orders that get me a wee bit more excited than others, the arachnids being one of them. This particular species was brought to my attention by a fellow spider lover and the latest(ish) news, along with it's history in the UK had me, to see it for myself.

The only TWO previous accepted records of this spider in the UK were from 1898 & 1912, both at Wicken Fen, Cambs. Close to being declared extinct in the UK, a specimen was confirmed at Radipole Lake (and later also Lodmoor) RSPB, last year.

Can't believe I've seen THAT dot!
Hypsosinga heri is it's name and as I said, with a history like that, I just had to look for it. I was given a rough area of where best to look but even armed with such info, was made to work quite hard to finally lay my eyes on one (follweded by a 2nd and a 3rd!) after a 2hr search. A small spider in a vast reedbed, of which we can only really see the front of, is almost a needle in a haystack job!

Anyhow, here are some pics of the first individual I found, tucked in to the reeds:

Hypsosinga heri

Hypsosinga heri

Hypsosinga heri

Hypsosinga heri
 Look at the size of her! So dainty and looking at the pics again, I think I'll cut myself some slack for not finding one in 5mins flat!

As is often the case, after 2hrs of searching to no avail, not only did I find this one but a 2nd one within feet of the first! Another pretty looking female with a distinctly darker appearance:

Hypsosinga heri #2

Hypsosinga heri #2
Chuffed to find one, delighted to find two and over the moon to find a 3rd one further along the path! This one another female but a lot smaller showing a much stronger red colouration. Apologies for the pic of this one, it was a bugger to get to without disturbing its lunch!

Hypsosinga heri #3

Now, I am somewhat expecting to be asked by some, why I would post details of such findings when, due to it's history, it could be classed as sensitive. Things like this don't differ too much to say, a rare bird or nest site and I did honestly consider whether it's right to write this post or not, but for 1) the media have already told the country. 2) Having found a sub-adult (#3), it is clear they are succesfully breeding and must have been since being re-discovered last year. 3) Let's not forget that these have been re-discovered on an RSPB reserve and I believe that if the RSPB are kept aware of the species, that they will endeavour to monitor and aid the newly found population.

The RSPB article from last year, when it was re-discovered, can be found HERE.