Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 21 May 2013 19:34
This year Chris Bentley and I are carrying out an invertebrate survey at Old Lodge and today I finally managed to catch up with a species I have wanted to see for some time. It's a female Micrommata virescens. It's not all that scarce and is known from the Ashdown Forest but it is one good looking spider, it almost appears luminescent. It certainly caught me by surprise as I was sweeping Bilberry and didn't see it in my tray hidden amongst the Bilberry leaves at first. Despite the cold weather, we still managed some good records with some good looking species like Sericomyia lappona and Ampedus sanguinolentus. We have recorded over 130 species so far there this year and I suspect it will be closer to 200 when all of today's specimens have been identified. Here are some more shots of Micrommata.
But the spider action doesn't stop there! I was packing some equipment away in the garden when I spotted what looked like a pirate spider. I potted it up and had a look through the microscope and it was indeed a mature female Ero furcata, a species I had not seen before. Pirate spiders actually predate other spiders, paralysing them before sucking them dry through a hole in their leg. What a way to go! It might be small compared to Micrommata but it's pretty cool up close.