Is this the UK's strangest spider!?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Friday, 19 June 2020 15:50

So I wasn't even going to year list spiders this year but it started happening without my consent in early January. I got quite a list together by early March but have not been out doing spiders for fun since then. As a freelancer though, I have been out doing fieldwork full time since 1st April, so as of 15th June I hit 300. It's now 301 with Enoplognatha latimana yesterday.

The 300th was a corker though. Ever since I first opened Roberts on the Walckenaeria page, I've always wanted to see 'the one with a duck on its head' as I called it. This is the nationally scarce Walckenaeria furcillata. What on Earth does it use this for!? Holding files together? A hair clip? The best thing about this though, as it's really not clear from the illustration in Roberts, IS THAT THE DUCK APPENDAGE IS FORKED! Look! It has these kind of backwards-pointing flaming hair-like scales at the tips of the fork, a bit like angel's wings, just about visible in this microscope image. There is so much going on with this spider!
The only thing I was a bit gutted about was not realising what I had picked up in the field, I would have loved to try and get some live shots. It was quite small for a Walck.

I imagine the 'duck' kinda has semi-independence. "It's so stimulating being your head!"

While actually Mark Gurney said "it looks like it's got an iron for a head" (backwards pointing for those that can't see it). And now I know that Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne were singing about this spider all this time! I bet you didn't know they are keen arachnologists either?

So 300 spiders is possible in six months. I only need 92 spiders to beat last year's total, which feels extremely doable at present. I might even go out looking for spiders again away from work sometime very soon...

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