I've seen more than a quarter of the UK's spiders already this year!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 17 April 2019 07:11

As it was my birthday I decided to have the day off. What this ended up being was me going to Levin Down and Iping Common to look for spiders. One thing I have learned though is if it FEELS like a day off, then that's OK. I had a few targets in mind and Xysticus bifasciatus was soon on the list. I love this photo as you can identify it from the palps. This area is always really good for this massive crab spider. Ozyptila nigrita evaded me though.

I have a confession to make. I really hate the genus Theridion. Well, I mean all the new names they have been split up to too. Not big enough to be real spiders, they have boring palps and also, no novelty heads like money spiders either. They are also only adult for about 30 seconds each year. Theridion mystaceum or whatever it is called now...

The real rarity was Phaeocedus braccatus though. I found these spiders at Levin in an area of moss a few years back and the young females were abundant yesterday. You can only just make out the six spots but they are there.

A novelty headed spider in the form of Hybocoptus decollatus which is abundant on the Juniper there. The highlight for me though was finding a beetle new to the reserve network, the tiny weevil Tychius squamulatus in the suction sampler. Violet Weevil was also new to the site.

Then I dashed off to Iping. It was cooler there sadly so my target species of a certain chevron-headed jumping spider was not to be found. I did add Hypomma cornutum, Evracha arcuata and Xerolycosa nemoralis though. It was however a male Araniella displicata that stole the show. What a beauty!

Another one I recorded months ago this year but a real beauty was Philodromus histrio. Here a pair were swept from the place I usually see them.

I recorded a total of eight new species for the year, making my spider list 172 species or 25.2% of the list. Collectively, the UK Spiders Facebook page has now recorded over a third of all the spiders too. Is it possible that I can get to 200 species in the first four months of the year?! Right, now I am off to set up a new survey in Surrey...

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