Archive for the 'Spiders' Category

19th May 2012, Saturday

Ooh, it’s the ladies!

With the good weather today I decided to have a look around the Beach Reserve for some spring spiders. I started with a search near Wader Pool hide for more of the rare jumping spider Pellenes tripunctatus and was rewarded with a total of five individuals, including two females, the first I have found here. While instantly recognisable they are not as brightly coloured as the males, with largely brown instead of black ground colour and lacking the red markings around the eyes. So far all the individuals I have found of this species have been in the same place so I think over the coming weeks I will have to search other suitable areas of the reserve to see if it is more widespread here.
Pellenes tripunctatus female

8th May 2012, Tuesday


Graeme Lyons, Michael Blencowe and Mat Davidson came over to Rye Harbour yesterday to record a podcast on the reserve. They spent the morning with Barry looking at birds, and then came with me to look at invertebrates. Highlight of the day (and one which I suspect will be diffcult to beat all year) were three male Pellenes tripunctatus, a rare jumping spider only occuring at three places in Britain and only dicovered here last year (actually a year ago today!). We also saw plenty of pale grass eggar caterpillars, and over 30 bombardier beetle!
Pellenes tripunctatus male
Read the rest of this entry »

1st May 2012, Tuesday

After the Deluge

Yesterday I took the opportunity to carry out my first butterfly count of the year, and after the wet weather it was good to get out in the sun! Truth be told there was little in the way of butterflies, with several peacock, a speckled wood in the scrub around Castle Water hide and a green-veined white the only species recorded, though there were plenty of other things to see. Highlight for me was the rare jumping spider Marpissa muscosa at Castle Water Hide, a species only recorded for the first time on the reserve in 2007 and now seen annually. Also seen on the the route were several hundred St Mark’s fly – every bush seemed to have its attendant group flying lazily round the branches – the spring hoverfly Epistrophe eligans and red-tailed bumblebee, buff-tailed bumblebee and common carder bee (the first ones I have seen at Rye Harbour this year).
Common carder bee
Read the rest of this entry »

14th October 2011, Friday

Peasmarsh jumping spider

It was a nice sunny day for a short walk through the woods in Peasmarsh today. The brighter weather brought out quite a number of species of insects and spiders including this attractive little jumping spider Pseudeuophrys lanigera.

28th June 2011, Tuesday

What a Dol(i)

While out on the weekly butterfly/dragonfly transect this afternoon I came across several weird looking flies on a gate post. They are called Medetera diadema and belong to the dolichopodidae, also called ‘long-legged flies’ or more often ‘dolis’ by enthusiasts. They are generally small flies with a metallic green colouration and are predatory on other invertebrates (the larvae are either predators or scavengers in aquatic or terrestrial habitats). Truth be told they are a group that I know very little about, with this being one of only two species I can identify with any confidence. They are striking looking flies though, with this genus in particular looking very alien indeed.
Medetera diadema
Read the rest of this entry »

26th June 2011, Sunday

More Shingle Spiders

I’ve not had much chance to go spider hunting over the last couple of weeks, but I have come across several interesting species in the course of doing other things. One of the highlights was a fat female Sitticus inexpectus on the saltmarsh below Lime Kiln. I’ve mentioned the striking males several time (see here), but the females are much duller and somewhat dumpier.
Female Sitticus inexpectus
Read the rest of this entry »

24th May 2011, Tuesday

Some Shingle Spiders

Yesterday I had a visit from Andy Philips (reserves officer for Hastings borough council) and Graeme Lyons (Sussex Wildlife Trust’s ecologist) who came to look for some typical shingle spiders. We found a good range of species including Sitticus inexpectus, Euophrys frontalis , Heliophanus flavipes and the ubiquitous Zebra Jumping Spider (Salticus scenicus). The highlights were a tiny male Neon pictus at Castle Water and a male Phlegra fasciata. This latter is pretty rare (RDB3) and has not been seen here for nearly 20 years, so it was a good find. Feeling a bit jealous that Andy and Graeme had found it and not me I went to the same spot early this afternoon and quickly found another, this time an immature female.

9th May 2011, Monday


While leaving the wader pool hide yesterday I noticed a striking spider on the walkway. I was certain that it was the RDB1 jumping spider Pellenes tripunctatus, but having no pots and a camera that wasn’t working I had to wait until today to confirm the identification. First found in Britain at Folkestone in Kent in the 1880’s, this species currently occurs at only two shingle sites in Britain – Dungeness and Chesil Beach in Dorset (though there was an unconfirmed record from the Crumbles in East Sussex in the 1980’s). Considering that it does occur along the coast at Dungeness it is perhaps not surprising that it has turned up here, but it was still a very exciting find!
Pellenes tripunctatus in flight. Note that this individual is missing its right front leg.
Read the rest of this entry »

5th May 2011, Thursday

Castle Water Insects

The warm, still weather at Castle Water today brought out a nice selection of odonata species. Damselflies included good numbers of Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselfly (with the odd Azure and Variable in the mix) and a single Large Red Damselfly at Castle Water Hide. Only two species of dragonfly today, Hairy Hawker and Four-spotted Chaser, but both of these were quite abundant. Other species of note included my first Small Copper of the year and the uncommon crab-spider Thanatus striatus.
Four-spotted Chaser
Read the rest of this entry »

28th March 2011, Monday

Shingle Spiders

I’ve spent a bit of time this year turning over stones and sieving the roots of grasses in the search for a suite of rare money spiders which could occur on the shingle at Rye Harbour. No luck so far, but I have come across an interesting selection of other, larger spiders. This has included Phrurolithus festivus (The Pretty Ant Spider – great name!), Neon pictus and today several other jumping spiders, incuding Heliophanus flavipes, Euophrys frontalis, and best of all, Sitticus inexpectus, another species which, while not common nationally, is fairly regular at Rye Harbour.
Sitticus inexpectus