Oldacre Valley

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 21 December 2019 20:26

I first went up Oldacre Valley nearly 30 years ago with Steve Cooper to see Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (anyone know if they are still there?). Always loved this valley on the western edge of Cannock Chase but all those years ago I didn't know anything about spiders. I did however remember that there were one or two tussocks of Greater Tussock-sedge up there. I wasn't disappointed and pulled out Notioscopus sarcinatus from the very first tussock I looked at! This nationally scarce/section 41 species hasn't been recorded in Staffs since 1994 according to the scheme and this might be a first record for the Chase even. I found at least four today.

I recorded 37 species of spider there today and 15 of these are new to the 10 km square SJ91 (the adjacent square to the one I grew up in). Of these, two were lifers and therefore new for the year for me putting me on 371 species and I'm slightly in the lead again. Will it last?

Here is the common (in the north west) Dicymbium tibiale with massive front legs in the male. There were lots of these present today.

Spider of the day will have to go to Erigonella ignobilis though. This nationally scarce species is new to me and looking at the recording scheme website was not only recorded from the exact same 10 km square (albeit 20 years ago) it was also recorded from the exact same 1 km square (beyond this there is only one other very old Staffs record). Pretty bonkers for something that is only 1.5 mm long.

If Alice Cooper were a money spider, he would be Lophomma punctatum. A common wetland species but also new to the 10 km square.

The only other nationally scarce species was Theridiosoma gemmosum, dwarfed by a springtail!
Tomorrow I will explore some Staffordshire Wildlife Trust reserves. Ten days to go...

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