Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 28 February 2011 18:43
As I was looking through a spider book at the weekend I found out about this species that is not in 'Roberts' because it was new to the British list in the early 1990s. It is Uloborus plumipes, also known as the Garden Centre Spider and is an introduced species that is spreading between garden centres via the house plant trade but as it is from Asia, Africa and the Med. originally, it requires warmer temperatures that are only really provided by warm greenhouses and hot houses. Intrigued by the strange looking beast and also by someone telling me that it is probably in all garden centres by now, I decided to go and have a look.
I went to the nearest garden centre to Woods Mill on my lunch break and found one within ten minutes! It looked more like a prey item wrapped in spider silk suspended in a web rather than a spider itself. It was quite small, no more than a cm when fully outstretched. I really have never seen anything like this before.
The garden centre staff were very helpful although they wouldn't let me in the greenhouses, I found this by a light on some shop fittings. I was so excited that I forgot to even look what section I was in, I think they thought I was a bit odd (and I didn't buy anything!). It was really hard to take photos because it was quite high up and very small with a bright background. It was close to an electric door as well. All this meant I was there for about twenty minutes with my camera! I wonder if they are hanging around in a garden centre near you?...