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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 39

Spider Recorder’s Annual Report 2002 Following on from my comments in the report for 2001 there has been a further increase in the number of arachnologists contributing records to the Suffolk database during 2002. Stan Dumican has continued to send in records, mainly from the north west of the county; Ray Ruffell of the Essex Field Club has targeted his collecting in poorly recorded tetrads in the south of the county; Anna Webb, a country park ranger, has supplied a number of records mainly from Nowton Park; Peter Harvey of the Essex Field Club has provided records from a survey at Red Lodge and Ian Dawson of the R.S.P.B. has contributed a large number of records mainly from wetland R.S.P.B. reserves. The data supplied by Peter Harvey included a record of the crab spider Philodromus longipalpis from Red Lodge which is an addition to the county arachnofauna. It was not recognised as a British species until 1992 and although since that date it has been collected from a number of sites across southern England, Philodromus longipalpis remains a rare species. Ian Dawson also added a new species to the county checklist in the form of a small, pale money spider named Maro subulestus. This nationally scarce spider has been collected in a variety of wetland habitats from Inverness-shire to Dorset but rarely has more than a single specimen been found. A single female specimen was identified by Ian from material collected in a water trap at Lakenheath Fen R.S.P.B. reserve in April 2000. The BAP priority species Rosser’s sac-spider Clubiona rosserae was recorded from Tuddenham Fen in 1969 but has not been seen at the site since that date. The only other British location for this rare wetland spider is at Chippenham Fen just over the border in Cambridgeshire where it has been collected regularly since 1951. In 2002 a project was set up by a group of organisations including Anglian Water, the newly formed Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, the British Arachnological Society and English Nature to investigate the ecology and current distribution of Clubiona rosserae. News of the initiative stimulated Ian Dawson to look again at some of the specimens he had identified from Lakenheath Fen. He discovered that a single female of Clubiona rosserae had been collected in a water trap, again in April 2000. The project is planned to run through into 2003 and will include a visit to the area by members of the British Arachnological Society which could well result in the discovery of more Suffolk sites for this elusive spider. Most of my own work on Suffolk spiders in 2002 has involved identifying specimens from pitfall trap samples set on Sudbourne Beach by Jim Askins. These traps have confirmed that the important shingle fauna already known to exist further south on Orfordness is not restricted to the undisturbed areas of the N.N.R. and National Trust land but extends northwards along the less isolated beaches towards Slaughden. These shingle spiders include two Red Data Book species, the nationally vulnerable money spider Trichoncus affinis and the nationally rare jumping spider Psuedeuophrys obsoleta as well as the nationally scarce jumping spider Sitticus inexpectus. Two other nationally scarce species Agraecina striata and Phaeocedus braccatus were also found in

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)



the pitfall traps. The former is generally considered to be a wetland spider but it has been recorded from coastal shingle previously. By way of contrast Phaeocedus braccatus is usually found on dry calcareous grassland but again has previously been recorded, albeit on just four occasions, from the shingle at Orfordness and Shingle Street. The total number of species of spider now recorded from Suffolk stands at 422 although some of these have only ever been collected on the one occasion, in some cases over 100 years ago. Some of the records must be considered dubious at best and unless specimens can be found to support them a number of species will probably have to be removed from the checklist in the near future. Paul Lee Oakdene, The Heath, Tattingstone, Ipswich IP9 2LX

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)

Spider Recorder’s Annual Report 2002  

Paul Lee

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