Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 2 January 2017 11:03
I was very pleased to see that my post on pan-listing Sussex Wildlife Trust's reserves is already almost my third most viewed post of all time which is pretty good considering I only wrote it on the 29th December and I've been blogging for nearly seven years now. Anyway, I'm going to be running a series of posts on this list. There are so many different ways to look at and cross-reference this list, I was going to start with the reserves but what I really wanted to do was have a look at a specific taxanomic group. Here then the spiders (not arachnids pan-listers, just the spiders) of Sussex Wildlife Trust's reserves.
We have 373 species, a fairly impressive list that is well over half of the British fauna. The top site is Rye Harbour with 201 species closely followed by Iping & Stedham Common with 199 species. It drops off really quickly after that with Old Lodge on 133 then Flatropers on 92. More surprisingly is the fact that 13 sites have less then ten species recorded and three sites don't have a single spider record! These are Gillham Wood, Brickfield Meadow and the Deneway. Jane Willmott wins the prize for the reserve manager with the most spiders overall with 245 species on her sites. Interestingly it was at Graffham where I found the as yet unidentified Philodromus last year, the specimen I kept didn't make it through the winter to reach maturity so I will be going back in the summer to look for that.
The mean last year of all spider records is 2008, showing that they have on average been recorded relatively recently. A total of 112 species have only been recorded on one of the 32 sites. Rye Harbour has the most unique species with 47 found only there out of our reserves, then Iping & Stedham which has 32 uniques. After this it plummets rapidly with Graffham, Old Lodge and Woods Mill all with only five unique species a piece. The most frequently recorded species is the Nursery-web Spider Pisaura mirabilis which has been recorded on 17 sites. Closely followed by Garden Spider Araneus diadematus and Misumena vatia on 15 of the sites.
Here is one of Rye Harbour's unique species, Pellenes tripunctatus. It will almost certainly always remain only there out of our sites being shingle specialist.
And of Iping's uniques. The awesome Aelurillus v-insignitis. It could be discovered on other heathlands in the county but as it stands it is very restricted. It benefits greatly from the management for Heath Tiger Beetles as do many other bare ground loving species.
And the most frequently recorded spider, Pisaura mirabilis. Big and easy to identify. So what do people want to hear about next?