The Fascinating World of Spiders

Friday, October 18th 2019

Earlier in the week, a member of the British Arachnalogical Society visited to deliver some staff training on spider identification. Jim Pewtress (aka Spiderman) spent the first part of the morning explaining the different types of spider that can be found in the UK (there are 680 species in total). 

One way to differentiate spiders is by their webs which can be sheet, radial, tangle or hammock in design. The anatomy of the arachnid was also covered.

After a virtual tour of the spider world the team headed out into the field to catch some live specimens. Sweep nets were used in an area adjacent to the heathland.

Some with more success than others (better luck next time Gerry)! It was surprising how many spiders were lurking in the damp grasses and over twenty were found altogether in a short space of time.

The contents of the nets were emptied into white plastic trays and pooters were then used to lift the spiders carefully into pots.

Back at the field centre, a microscope was used to study the creatures in more detail.

A small glass dish filled with tiny white beads showed the spiders up well. 

Identifying animals that are only 2.4mm in length requires a lot of patience and skill. Over half of the spiders in the UK are in the money spider family like the one shown here.

Jim explained the intricacies of spider identification; the males have larger palps than females (they look a bit like boxing gloves) and the shape of these amongst other factors is key to distinguishing one species from another. The photo below shows a palp of a house spider. The small dark object in the centre has a distinct hook shape.

This was compared to the illustration from a book to identify the spider as Tegenaria duellica one of a possible eleven species of Tegenaria found in Europe.

Our sincere thanks to Jim for providing a valuable insight into the fascinating world of spiders!


 


(0) Comments:

There are no comments for this blog post yet. Why not start the discussion? - use the form below:


Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?


Back to Top

Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events


December Winter Worky Day

Saturday 7th December 2019 | 10.00am-3.00pm

Join our staff and volunteers for a fun day of practical habitat management tasks.  Specific tasks will be chosen nearer the time.  Come ready for all weather conditions and bring your oldest outdoor clothes as tasks will be mucky and may involve bonfires. Booking is essential for this FREE event as a hot cooked lunch will be provided.



Festive Crafts Workshop (Willow wreaths and Tannenbaums)

Saturday 14th December 2019 | 10.00am - 12 noon

Make a beautiful miniature, decorative Christmas tree or a wreath from natural materials. At the end of this workshop you will have a stunning centrepiece for any festive occasion. Tea/coffee and a mince pie are included. Booking is essential as places are limited. There is a required donation of £15 per person to cover materials and a discounted donation of £10 for Friends of the reserve and Volunteers.

 


 



VIEW ALL EVENTS

Undergrowth Newsletter



The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert
{alt}

This book has been published with the aim of enabling people visiting these, immensely important Flagship Pond Sites in North Yorkshire, to identify the dragonflies and damselflies they encounter - by reference to a simple text and photographs. Credits - Yorkshire Dragonfly Group & Freshwater Habitats Trust

Read this Issue



View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive