Alan’s talk in February attracted a good crowd and he gave us a fascinating insight into these creatures. He also asked us to look out for some spiders that are arriving in Leicestershire soon (if they haven’t already!).
These two species have been spreading north and west in recent years and are now on our borders – they’ll be here soon:
Tube Web Spider, Segestria florentina
There are three species of tube web spider in Britain. They inhabit silk tubes in crevices in walls and rocks with silk strands radiating from the mouth of the tube act as trip-wires for prey. With females up to 22mm long Segestria florentina is the largest. This species was once restricted to ports in the south, suggesting that it originally colonized Britain via the shipping trade. In recent years it has increased its range, turning up on quite new buildings.
Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi
You cannot mistake this large handsome spider that spins its large orb webs in the open amongst long grass in southern England. Argiope bruennichi was first recorded in Britain in 1922 in East Sussex. The spider is now widespread along the south coast and is spreading inland and northwards. To breed it requires a minimum of three months warm weather and a mild winter. Egg sacs laid high in vegetation are destroyed by autumn mowing so the species tends to be restricted to post-industrial sites rather than over tidy “wild flower” meadows.