Introduction to Spiders

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 18 June 2018 08:13

Last Friday I ran a course for the first time. An Introduction to Spiders at Iping Common. This fantastic reserve is Sussex's best site for spiders, with 204 species recorded there and a quarter of these having conservation status, it's one of the best places to see spiders in Sussex (along with Rye Harbour).

The aim was to show how much can be done in the field and also how much needs to be done at the microscope. The very first spider we recorded on the first Gorse we beat was the nationally scarce Araneus angulatus! All in all we recorded 21 species. Only one of these was identified at the microscope. Tibellus oblongus. Despite taking several very spotty Tibellus, we didn't manage to add Tibellus maritimus to the site list, a useful lesson in how some ID features are only a guide with spdiers. In fact, it's getting really hard to add a new spider to this site! Here are the spiders we saw with the year they were last recorded and their conservation status.

Species Cons status Last record
Aelurillus v-insignitus NS 2017
Agalenatea redii 2017
Agelena labyrinthica 2017
Anyphaena accentuata 2012
Araneus angulatus NS 2012
Araneus diadematus 2017
Araneus quadratus 2017
Arctosa perita 2017
Cercidia prominens NS 2017
Euophrys frontalis 2007
Evarcha arcuata NS 2017
Evarcha falcata 2017
Hypsosinga sanguinea NS 2018
Mangora acalypha 2017
Philodromus histrio NS 2017
Pisaura mirabilis 2017
Salticus cingulatus 2012
Simitidion simile 2017
Thomisus onustus NS 2017
Tibellus oblongus 2012
Xerolycosa nemoralis NS 2018

That's a whopping 38% of spiders with conservation status! Stars of the show included the jumping spiders and of course Thomisus onustus shown above. We found one adult male and two immature females. It's the male featured in the image above and below. I think it looks like cooling lava against the black heath.

This is the female (although this image was taken some years ago of an adult - wow it was over eight years ago now).

Well done everyone who attended and help find the spiders, if any course attendees have any photos they would like to share on this post from the day I will gladly do so. It was a great day. But it didn't end with the spiders. We had two species new to Iping Common. Both bugs, being Leptopterna ferrugata and Aradus cinnamomeus. The rare beetle Cryptocephalus biggutatus also showed up in the sweep net.

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