The Beast of Brighton

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday 29 September 2020 15:55

Zoropsis spinimana first turned up in Brighton as far back as 2014 but it's taken me until now to see one. A huge thanks to Ali Risby for connecting me with this absolutely huge and gorgeous spider. There is so much to look at! It's so much bigger than I thought it would be, rivalling a Dolomedes in size nearly, it's also REALLY fast. Given that this comes into houses, I can totally see it not being popular with some people, it was even making me jump when it would suddenly start running after a long period of sitting motionless. It's also good at climbing the sides of the tank it's in and is also known to be able to climb glass easily (thanks Gemma). That said, I would happily have these living in the house, so any moronic 'kill it with fire' comments are most unwelcome, I would rather have these in my house than muppets who come out with that sort of rubbish. It's a non-native that has spread rapidly through London over the last decade, but outside of London, Brighton seems to be the best place to see it. Here are some more shots of this BEAST of a spider.

You can read more about it on the BAS website here and the recording scheme page for it, is here.

I have mapped the current known locations of the spider in Brighton and Hove (the larger square is simply where the record's resolution was lower). It seems to have started off in an area just south of Seven Dials and that is probably your best chance of seeing it. This year it has been found in Kemtpown too, the records covering some 6 or 7 km, meaning that it could be anywhere in the city now! The most western record is likely one that was moved when a friend moved house, given that he also had it in his previous garden, this is too much of a coincidence. Now seems a good time to see the adults too, If you see it, please send me a photo and I'll add it to the records. That's 353 spiders for me in just under nine months in the UK. 

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