Spiders of the Sussex Uplands

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 3 November 2018 20:18

After hearing of the success of Thanatus formicinus being found in numbers two weeks ago in Nottinghamshire, I thought I would try and have another go for it at Old Lodge. I didn't find any. However, I did get three new spiders for me and six new spiders for Old Lodge. First up though, I found quite a few immature Micrommata virescens. This is the spider that grows up into a huge luminous green huntsman (an old image is shown below). This time of year they are pretty small and look quite like Tibellus. Of the two I photographed, I wonder if they are a young male (above) and female (below) as they are quite different looking even at this small size.

And here is what they'll become next year. Ashdown Forest is the main stronghold in Sussex for this amazing spider, nice to be able to record it in November. Actually, I recorded around 20 species today using the suction sampler. 

This one was new to Old Lodge. Agroeca proxima. Agroecas look at first glance like wolf spiders but they are a different family. I do'r record them very often, in fact, this is only the 7th Agroeca record I have, this probably due to their late season.

The three money spiders that were new for me were also new to the site. Two of these, Ceratinella brevipes and Tenuiphantes cristatus are widespread species with a strong north-western distribution. Typical for Old Lodge to be home to species like this that are uncommon elsewhere in the county. There really is no reason to go up north when you go to the Ashdown Forest, it's like a bit of north-west England down here in the south. The third was also new to the reserve network, it's the nationally scarce species Notioscopus sarcinatus or the Swamp Lookout Spider. It's less than 2mm long and has a really odd feature in the male. A finger like projection that sticks up in the middle of the cephalothorax just behind the eyes. I couldn't get a decent photo down the microscope but here you go. The 387th spider recorded on our reserves.

Also new to Old Lodge were Ero furcata and Walckenaeria cuspidata.  There were also dozens of the nationally scarce Hypselistes jacksoni which I recorded there last March. It was possibly the commonest money spider in the bog. It has a really interesting shaped head too.

So, didn't find the target species but it was well worth it. Can't remember the last time I added three new spiders in one day and Notioscopus is a really good find.

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