It's all gone a Rye

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 23 May 2011 19:32

I've had a great day out in the field with Andy Phillips and Chris Bentley at Rye Harbour and Castle Water. With all three of us having a common interest in jumping spiders (but me knowing next to nothing!) they dominated the day but we saw lots of other things too. First of all, I have finally saw a living Helops caeruleus. They were very easy under the railway sleepers, a little faster than I was expecting for a tenebrionid. This really is an impressive beetle.

OK, back to the spiders. It was very hard to photograph today with such strong winds but I did manage a few. This wasn't the shot I was going for but actually I'm quite pleased with it as it shows the markings on the abdomen quite clearly. This is Sitticus inexpectus and is a new one for me. Roberts states it's a shingle specialist.
We also saw the very rare Neon pictus, as well as the common Euophrys frontalis, all of these jumping spiders are new to me and we are still waiting on the ID of another probable rare species. I did manage a shot of the ubiquitous Salticus scenicus immediately after it caught its prey. The male's chelicerae are huge!
We also found the larvae of the Pale Grass Eggar which is quite a handsome creature, although this one looked a little sand-blasted (as did we).
Finally, Andy found a number of Bristly Millipedes Polyxenus lagurus on the walls of the castle. They are tiny but very smart looking under a hand lens. Here is the best shot I got. I have to say I have never even heard of them before and would not have thought they were millipedes at all if I had stumbled across them. I can't help but think of the mind controlling parasites used in The Wrath of Khan! I am sure I will have more to add from today's trip, I may even do a second blog tomorrow but at the end of today I am on 3364 species. A massive thank you to Andy and Chris!

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