Britain’s largest spider extinct found at MoD training site | Spiders

One of Britain’s largest spiders has not been seen in the country for 27 years at the Defense Ministry training ground in Surrey.

The large fox-spider is a nocturnal hunter, known for its speed and agility, as well as its eight black eyes that give it wrap-around vision. The dangerous spider was last thought to be extinct in Britain in 1993 after being last seen in the Hangley Common in Surrey. The two-inch-wide (5 cm) arachnid was previously found at both sites at Morton Heath in Dorset. These are only three parts of the UK, all of which are recorded in the relatively hot south.

From Mike Waite Surrey Wildlife Foundation Two years after searching for darkness he discovered the elusive spider Surrey military base, MoD not named for security reasons.

“I knew what it was when my torch fell on it. I was delighted. There have been a lot of ups and downs this year with the corona virus, and I’m also turned 60, so it was a good celebration. This is a beautiful spider, if you are in that kind of thing, ”Waite said.

Mike Wade of the Surrey Wildlife Foundation in search of the big fox-spider.
Mike Wade of the Surrey Wildlife Foundation in search of the big fox-spider. Photo: Surrey Wildlife Foundation

The giant fox-spider is one of the largest members The wolf-spider family, Hunts spiders that do not use nets to catch prey. It chases before chasing beetles, ants and small spiders and injects deadly venom. The prey liquefies its internal organs without moving. The spider – which poses no danger to humans – feeds using fang-bearing jaws.

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M0D bases are often placed in the open position because military exercises cause little disruption to plants, stopping the continuity of shrubs and trees. Waite used aerial photographs to find plain sand dunes suitable for spider-hunting style hunting techniques, and found first place next to jeep tracks. In total, he found several males, one female, and unrecognizable immature spiders.

Nick Baker, President of the British Archaeological Society.
Nick Baker, President of the British Archaeological Society. Photography: Juliet Mills Photography / Surrey Wildlife Foundation

Nick Baker, TV presenter And the president of the British Archaeological Society, describing the discovery as “the most amazing thing that has ever happened in wildlife circles.” He said: “It’s as beautiful as a spider, it’s big, and now it’s officially back in the British animal kingdom.”

The giant fox-spider, an aboriginal species, was first discovered 120 years ago, and has only been seen a few times since. Despite their size, spiders are difficult to spot because they are mainly nocturnal and have brown camouflage. In winter, they dig burrows under the rocks and line up with silk and go to a kind of dormancy.

The MoD is managed by Heathland where the spider was discovered Ambipion and Reptile Conservation Foundation. It is recognized as a nationally important site for rare birds, reptiles and invertebrates, especially sand lizards, soft snakes, Dartford Forbler and Knights. MoD sites Mostly good for wildlife This is because they are protected from human activity and are large enough to give wildlife space to go.

Mike Wade discovered several male large fox-spiders, a female, pictured and unidentified immature spiders.
Mike Wade discovered several male large fox-spiders, a female, pictured and unidentified spiders. Photo: Mike Waite / Surrey Wildlife Foundation
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The large fox-spider prefers warmer climates and is more common in coastal sand dunes in the European landscape, especially in Holland and Denmark.

“It makes me think about how hard we searched on our beaches? Are we hard enough?” Said Waite, who believes the spider is more widespread than people think.

Waite is now making large fox-spider hunting trips at night on neighboring sites, and hopes to write a scientific dissertation about them one day. “It seems like the most important thing I’ve ever done in a long life. It inspired me to find out as much as I could about this breed in the UK,” he said.

Find out more Here is the age of protection from destruction, And follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston And Patrick Greenfield On Twitter for all the latest news and features

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