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FRESHWATER SPIDER REPORT INVERTEBRATES 2012

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In September 2010, Adrian Knowles found a number of small, green spiders in his garden at Capel St Mary. These turned out to be Nigma walckenaeri, yet another new species for the county. This spider may have been introduced to Britain relatively recently. Adrian considers it possible the spider may have hitched a lift to Suffolk when he moved from his previous home in Colchester. When Sue Telling purchased a bunch of grapes from an Ipswich supermarket in 2010 she got more than she bargained for. Once at home she noticed a silken retreat attached to the stem of the grape bunch but did not see the spider that had spun it. When Colin Hawes passed the grapes to me the recently dead (squashed) male spider in the bottom of the bag proved to be a Pantropical Jumper Plexippus paykulli. This spider would not have survived our climate, but has been spread around the world by man. Another jumping spider found for the first time in Suffolk in 2010 was Synageles venator. Ray Ruffell collected a female of this ant mimic running around with Black Ants Lasius niger agg. on shingle at Bawdsey Manor. This spider is nationally scarce and probably native to coastal habitats such as sand dune and shingle but also occurs in brownfield sites. Almost a year to the day after his discovery at Bawdsey, Ray added another species to the county list when he discovered one of the pirate spiders Ero aphana on gorse at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Newbourne Springs reserve. Pirate spiders are only 3 or 4 mm long but have evolved a very specialized feeding technique. They prey exclusively on other spiders much larger than themselves. They lure a spider out of its retreat and onto its web by plucking the strands to simulate a potential mate. The unsuspecting victim is bitten in the leg and the pirate spider quickly retreats until its venom has paralysed its prey. The pirate spider then returns to suck out the liquefied body contents through the punctured leg. Alan Thornhill added this species and Ero tuberculata to the v.c. 26 list when he recorded them from Hinderclay Fen and Cavenham Heath respectively in 2012. Lakenheath Fen is one of only two sites in the country where Rosser’s Sac Spider Clubiona rosserae has been found but it has not been seen there for more than a decade. Buglife asked Alan Thornhill to undertake some surveys of the Botany Bay area of the reserve in 2011. Unfortunately, Alan could not find the target species, but he did collect a small money spider Carorita paludosa that was new to the county. This spider was not known to science until 1971 since when it had been collected most commonly from several places within the Norfolk Broads. Otherwise it is known from a handful of sites, just one other in Britain, making the Lakenheath population of international importance for the conservation of the spider. In June 2011, the British Arachnological Society returned to Suffolk for their annual weekend field meeting at Belstead House. One of the main aims of the meeting was to search for Midia midas, a small money spider found in

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 48 (2012)

SPIDER RECORDER’S REPORT 2012  

Paul Lee