Rare bog spiders re-discovered at Shropshire nature reserve

Reporter:

Emily Davies

After more than two decades, a vulnerable species of spider has been
rediscovered at Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve (NNR).

The money spider Carorita limnaea isn’t the only one to be noted following searches, with the rare jumping spider, Sitticus caricis, and Cotton’s amazon spider Glyphesis cottonae also found.

They were all found during a search for the rare jumping spider Sitticus floricola, not spotted at the reserve since 2004.

Dr Joan Daniels, Marches Mosses BogLIFE project officer, said: “The jumping spiders are particularly attractive, hunting actively by day and sealing themselves in silken cells at night to sleep.

“Whereas most spiders detect their prey through sensory hairs and vibrations on their webs, the jumping spiders look very personable as they have big forward facing eyes to give them binocular vision to help them judge how far to jump. They can also move their retinas back to give them very sharp eyesight to focus on their prey, and can jump about 10 times their body length.

“Amusingly, they often jump on to camera lenses when people are trying to photograph them.”

Carorita limnaea has only been recorded at two sites in the UK, Whixall Moss in 1993 and Wybunbury Moss.

Extensive restoration work to the mosses has meant these rare bog spiders have been able to thrive.

In partnership with Natural Resources Wales and Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England will build on this success in the coming years with a multi-million pound package of improvements through the European LIFE and Heritage Lottery-funded Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project.

Dr Daniels added: “This is a fantastic find. It’s one of the many reasons to save and restore this, Britain’s third-largest raised bog.

“It is wonderful to know the restoration work here is paying off and populations of this very rare money spider and the gorgeous little stripy jumping spider are now increasing.”

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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