The Horrid Ground Weavers

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 9 December 2019 22:49

Wow. What a weekend. I had wanted to keep up with my blogs over the weekend but slow wi-fi in the B&B scuppered that. Anyway, this is Saturday's adventure...

So many people, so many arachnids. I finally got to meet Tylan Berry and Debs Rylands yesterday (who was kind enough to take this shot of the 'spider year-listers'). Nicola Bacciu drove us down to Plymouth where we met up with Tylan, Kev, Debs, James McGill and John Walters. 

Our first site was arguably the rarest spider in Britain. Within minutes we had seen FOUR Horrid Ground-weavers Nothophantes horridus. Now this is an endemic spider, only known since 1989 and only from a handful of extremely threatened sites. We saw 3% of all the Nothophantes horridus that have ever been seen in the world in an an hour. I think from looking at the habitat the hyphen is in the wrong place and Horrid-ground Weaver is more apt. No suction samplers needed at this point, just turning over stones. Or without the hyphen, I think it is the best name for our band in the top photo, the Horrid Ground Weavers!
A male in the first photo and a female in the second photo. That's a Tramp Slug for scale. And a quick video.

A photo from John Walters of all photographing horridus.

Then James found one of the other targets, Centetostoma bacilliferum. It looks like Pinhead from Hellraiser. The Cenobite version of a regular harvestman.

Then I stupidly got Matt a year tick, Epsinus maculipes. I was actually increasing the gap! Also present, only the third time I have ever seen Dipoena inornata.

Then onto another site where I stumbled across a botanical lifer, only my third ever broomrape being Ivy Broomrape.

And the incredibly strange little orange harvestman that is Scotolemon doriae. What an odd little thing it is.

And a video. Why does someone always ruin them with swearing!?

Then I had TWO lifers in the car park leaving the site. Eratagina saeva!

And of course, Cryptachaea blattea! Thanks Tylan for showing me that one. Bigger than I thought it would be.

Then back to Bovey Tracey for Matt's first for Britain. The tiny Pelecopsis susannae which we found without too much effort sampling tree trunks. All in all it was an amazing day, a huge thank you for everyone involved. Next up I head to Cornwall for even more spider action. I will add though that as of today I am only THREE species behind Matt on 366 species having had 15 lifers in Devon and Cornwall. When I publish the 4th day I will write out the species list for all four days as it is pretty epic.

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