World News – GB – Huge spider believed to be extinct in Britain discovered at MoD training site

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Described as « beautiful » by the man who found it, the large fox spider has not been seen since 1993

One of Britain’s largest spiders was discovered at Defense Ministry training ground in Surrey without having been seen in the country for 27 years

The great fox spider is a night hunter, known for his speed and agility, as well as his eight black eyes which give him enveloping vision The critically endangered spider has been presumed extinct in Britain after being last spotted in 1993 on Hankley Common in Surrey The two inch wide (5cm) arachnid had previously been spotted at two sites in Morden Heath in Dorset These are the only three areas in Britain , all located in the comparatively warmer south, where it was recorded

Mike Waite of the Surrey Wildlife Trust discovered the elusive spider after two years of trawling after dark looking for it at the Surrey military site, which the Department of Defense is not naming for security reasons

« As soon as my torch fell on it I knew what it was I was thrilled With the coronavirus there have been a lot of ups and downs this year, and I turned 60 too so that was a good celebration of that It’s a gorgeous spider, if you like that stuff, ”Waite said

The large fox spider is one of the largest members of the wolf spider family, hunting spiders that do not use webs to catch prey It hunts beetles, ants and small spiders before to pounce on it and inject deadly venom The prey is immobilized and its internal organs liquefy The spider – which poses no risk to humans – feeds with fanged jaws

M0D sites are often kept open as military exercises slightly disturb vegetation, which stops the succession of shrubs and trees Waite used aerial photos to find bare patches of sand, which are suitable for ambush type spider hunt, and spotted the first one next to the Jeep tracks In total he found several males, one female and a few unidentifiable immature spiders

Nick Baker, TV presenter and president of the British Arachnological Society, described the discovery as « the most exciting thing that has happened in wildlife circles in some time » He said: ‘It’s about as beautiful as a spider, it’s big and now it’s officially a member of Britain’s wildlife again. »

The large fox spider, a native species, was first discovered 120 years ago and has only been seen a few times since Despite their size, spiders are difficult to spot because they are mainly nocturnal and have an effective marbled brown camouflage In winter, they dig burrows under the rocks and line them with silk, going into a kind of hibernation state

The MoD moor where the spider was found is managed by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust It is recognized as a site of national importance for populations of rare birds, reptiles and invertebrates, in especially sand lizards, smooth snakes, Dartford’s warbler and nightjar MoD sites are often good for wildlife as they are protected from human activity and are large enough to give wildlife space to roam around

The large fox spider likes warmer climates and is more common on the European continent, especially on coastal sand dunes in Holland and Denmark

« Makes me think how much have we searched for him on our shores? » Have we looked enough? said Waite, who thinks the spider may be more widespread than people think

Waite is currently leading nocturnal fox spider hunting expeditions to nearby sites and hopes to someday write a scientific article about them. « This seems to be the most important thing I have done in a long career. ‘inspired to do something with it and find out as much as possible about this species in the UK, ”he said.

Find more Age of Extinction coverage here, and follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

Spider, UK, Extinction, Fox

News from the world – UK – Huge spider believed to be extinct in Britain discovered at MoD training site



SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com/news/world-news-gb-huge-spider-believed-to-be-extinct-in-britain-discovered-at-mod-training-site/?remotepost=494027

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