Rare Spider Not Seen this Century Found in Black Hole

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 19 January 2020 08:36

Before I found myself sucked into the inescapable gravitational pull of Black Hole at Burton Pond, I headed to Iping Common to MAX OUT ON MY SPIDER YEAR LIST! There, I've said it. I'm year-listing spiders again apparently. Anyway yesterday was awesome. From Iping and Burton I recorded 65 species of spider which from mid winter on a frosty day I think is pretty smart. I got TWO lifers out of it. Neither were from Iping. Iping was great for some big impressive spiders I would normally expect to see in autumn, such as an adult Ero tuberculata above (looks like another new record for January). This adult female Agroeca proxima

Other charismatic mega fauna included Marpissa muscosa.

Nuctenea umbratica. I don't think I have ever noticed their weird eye arrangement before.

Clubiona corticalis with the above two on the same tree.

And a Cream-streaked Ladybird just to keep my eye in with the beetles.

I had collected tons of linys which it turned out were going to be mostly unexciting species. The Sphagnum areas at Iping were yielding nothing so by about 1.30 pm I found myself sucked into the Black Hole at Burton Pond.

A year on I was very much aware how much my spider field craft, especially with money spiders, had moved on. I was ticking off things such a Sintula corniger, Taranuncus setosus, even female Notioscopus sarcinatus (I did check these). In addition immature Theridiosoma gemmosum and Rugathodes instabilis. Black Hole really is a gem and recent work that Jane Willmott has done there is clearly having a great benefit to the site by keeping it more open. An an adult Platnickina tincta was a bit of a surprise too.

Oh and Demetrias monostigma. If you are finding this beetle, you are on a good site for spiders. And beetles. I only ever see it in old Greater Tussock-sedge and Marram tussocks.

It wasn't until I got home though that I realised I had found something rather good.

Here is Centromerus brevivulvatus. Last seen in the UK in West Sussex in 1998 by Dick Jones at Durford Heath. It's Endangered and Nationally Rare. Only ever known from seven 10 km squares, four of which are in Sussex. Interestingly one of these is Iping Common where it was last seen in 1969. This record though is an entirely new 10 km square making eight 10 km squares, five of which are in Sussex! Oddly only this week I assessed this species as a 'Sussex rare species' and thought to myself "I should get out there and have a look at Durford Heath."

Have a look at the SRS page for it here. Here is the map. Look at all those 'x's.

The singularity that is the Black Hole opened up an Einstein-Rosen Bridge to 1998. What was I doing then? This:

I didn't know anything about spiders then, but I did look a lot more like a spider than I do now. I'd have been half way through my astrophysics degree at Sussex Uni at this point (that's not the name of a hipster ale by the way {hipsters didn't exist then} - in the above image I am halfway through a pint of Hoegaarden).

Anyway, back to Black Hole. One of the next spiders I looked at I only recently ticked off up north. I was amazed to find a male Aphileta misera. This seems to be a species new to West Sussex, the last Sussex record from Ashdown Forest was in 1970. So where was I in 1970? Well I was an unconstituted smear of matter across the Staffordshire landscape, with smaller clusters peppered around the world depending on where my mother's food would come from some seven years later. Some of my carbon might even have been sequestered by spiders at that point, probably the bits that would one day make up my neurons. We have all been there!

And also new for me was Diplocephalus permixtus. A species I was expecting to see up north. Turns out this is the first West Sussex record since 1944 and Sussex record since 1999.

Now I did quite a bit of recording at both these sites last year and it really does go to show how important repeat visits are. With just shy of 10% of the UK fauna seen in a single day I will not be doing any recording now until next weekend.

4 Response to "Rare Spider Not Seen this Century Found in Black Hole"

Gibster Says:

Top work (and top blogging!) I'm really glad you're doing it all over again. Presumably you'll be keeping track of the harvestmen, ticks, pseudoscorpions and mites whilst you're at it. Arachnid year-listing is all the rage nowadays, spider year-listing is just sooo last decade....

Graeme Lyons Says:

Ta mate. What, all those things are arachnids too?! Mind. Blown.
You're kidding, right? I thought they was just fluff, dust and grit.

Gibster Says:

That was gonna be a blog title wasn't it - Fluff, Dust and Grit. Which of us will use it first, I wonder?

Graeme Lyons Says:

For someone who can find lifers pretty much anywhere, I think that's what you should call your blog!

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