Big fat hairy legs

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 13 May 2016 16:21

Secondary sexual characteristics of spiders can be quite unusual, like this male spider's funny hairy front legs. This is Bianor aurocinctus, a nationally scarce (Na) jumping spider that I have wanted to see for several years now. We found it on some dead wood right at the end of in invertebrate survey of Levin Down. It looks like it's only the second record for West Sussex which is really exciting. Michael Blencowe came out with me but was too scared to look at it closely with the hand lens, so he will pleased to see I have provided a photo of it down the microscope! You can see the detail of the palps also.

It was quite a damp day but we pushed on anyway. In the compartments that contain Juniper, I always concentrate my efforts there and this time it paid off with a cracking little micro moth which seems to be only the second site for it in the whole of Sussex. Argyresthia arceuthina is a really distinctive gold moth with a white head. Here is the Sussex distribution and the UK Moths page for the species. It's nationally scarce (Nb) and feeds only on Juniper!

We also spotted this bug beaten off Juniper and it seems this is an alien species that mainly feeds on garden plants such as cypresses. I'm not sure if this is also a species new to the counties!

Other highlights included Platyrhinus resinosus (on the same log I recorded it new to West Sussex last month) along with a mating pair of Platystomos albinus. Plenty of Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers, Speckled Yellow and the first soldier beetle of the year Cantharis rustica.

2 Response to "Big fat hairy legs"

Easter Islander Says:

Thanks for the great introduction to Bianor aurocinctus ... and a bucket-load of other insects & arachnids at Ashcombe Bottom on Saturday Graeme. My first taste of invertebrate surveying - overwhelming but I'll be back for more! Mike Luscombe (EasterIslander on blogspot)

Graeme Lyons Says:

You're welcome Mike, glad you enjoyed it!

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