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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Some good arachnid records!

Having found the extremely good Spider Recording Scheme website at http://srs.britishspiders.org.uk/ I felt inspired to have a go at identifying a handful of photographs of spiders I had accumulated over the last few years.  I had a go at four spiders and a couple of harvestmen.  The first response I got confirmed that most were incorrectly identified and that the harvestmen needed to go to another recorder.  Once I got all of the responses back, I had a bit of a shock.  One of the harvestmen, which I had photographed on the wall of the house here in Langthorpe back in January 2008, was a female Opilio canestrinii which was not only new for Yorkshire but possibly only the second UK record; I have been advised by Peter Harvey who runs the SRS scheme, that following the first in Lea Valley in 1999, the next was in Matlock in 2009, then with 4 in 2010 and 9 in 2011 from various other locations. 
Opilio canestrinii, NEW for Yorkshire

Opilio canestrinii
Another spider of interest was a bright yellow Araneus marmoreus var. pyramidatus seen at Pilmoor which was only about the 2nd VC62 record in the last 30 years.
Araneus marmoreus var pyramidatus
One spider I did not have a photo of, but knew rather well was Pholcus phalangioides.  I first came across this one back in 2003 in Dorset, when idly perusing the internet and found a request for sightings of this species on the Dorset Environmental Records Center website.  I looked up, and blow me down there was one of these with a family of spiderlings in an untidy little web on the ceiling.  They are quite distinctive, and when touched they tend to spin round madly.  As it happens I noticed them again when we were renting in Hartwith near Harrogate, and again several times in the house here in Langthorpe.  It turns out, it is a new record for VC65!

Platybunus triangularis was the other harvestman photographed, which was at Low Wood, Sessay, on 12 June 2011, and appears to be the first recent record in the last 20 odd years for VC62.
Platybunus triangularis

The other photos were of more regular species and I include them just for completeness.  I think it just goes to show that spiders are vastly under-recorded and there is plenty of scope for making discoveries...as long as you can identify the little buggers!
Araneus quadratus, Windmill Farm NR, Lizard, Cornwall, VC1

Araneus diadematus, Windmill Farm NR, Lizard, VC1

Pisaura mirabilis, female with egg sac, Holm Bushes near Middlemarsh, VC9.  A new record for 10km square.

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