The only British spider in the same sub-order as the tarantulas!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday 22 October 2010 18:51

Just as I finished work this afternoon I got a phone call from Nick Hunt saying he had found a FEMALE Purse-web Spider Atypus affinis in Woodvale Crematorium. I have found the webs there and Nick has seen two males already but I really wanted to see a big female. I legged it back to Brighton  as fast as I could and was there within 30 minutes. This spider is something else, look at the size of its jaws! This spider is the only species in the sub-order Orthognatha, the same order as tarantulas! The chelicerae (jaws) which are visible in these shots and the video are arranged to move up and down (like a pick-axe it states in Roberts) and I would hate to be on the wrong end of them.
It was quite a clumsy spider and seemed very sluggish as it fell over a few times The females are meant to spend most of their time in the webs underground so I was really surprised to see a female. at all The jaws are so large that the eyes are raised to see over them. What a beast and a really awesome end to the week. Only two species to go now...

2 Response to "The only British spider in the same sub-order as the tarantulas!"

Anonymous Says:

this is great work!

Dartmoor Zoo have some good moths recorded as native to the site that you might be interested in talking to them about. native spider audit would be good!

Graeme Lyons Says:

Hi, thanks for the comments. Would be happy to talk moths. Do you have any photos of moths that need indentifying?

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