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Spiders in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 16:54 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:29 20 February 2013

Drapetisca Socialis

Drapetisca Socialis

The Cotswolds landscape provides a range of habitats that support many different species of spider; in some cases it is the limestone grassland that is important, but the drystone walls also provide many sheltered niches, and the woodlands and gra...

The Cotswolds landscape provides a range of habitats that support many different species of spider; in some cases it is the limestone grassland that is important, but the drystone walls also provide many sheltered niches, and the woodlands and grasslands between them offer supports for webs at different heights, together with a mix of light levels and humidity levels to suit many species.



The British Arachnological Society is fifty years old this year and its prime objective is to further the education of the public by promoting the study of the Arachnida, particularly spiders, harvestmen and pseudoscorpions. Visit. www.britishspiders.org.uk for more information.



Spiders in the Cotswolds




































Atypus affinis




Drapetisca socialis




Araneus quadratus




Micrommata virescens




Textrix denticulata




Tibellus oblongus






Picture
















Picture.




Picture




Picture




Picture




Picture




Habitat



This unusual looking spider has a body length of around 12 mm. It needs unimproved open habitats such as heathland, chalk grassland or other old grasslands.


In grassland it makes a tube, mainly in the ground in undisturbed areas around the edge of scrub and at the base of ant hills. The above-ground section is camouflaged with bits of earth and debris. Any prey walking across the tube is seized, and pulled through the wall of the tube, which is then repaired.


There are three known sites in the Cotswolds sites for this species.




Drapetisca is a small spider with long, thin legs. It has a body length of 3.2 -4 mm, and can be found on the bark of tree trunks, as well as in leaf litter and sometimes on fences in woods. The females construct a web of very fine threads, about 60 x 40 mm, often underneath protuberances on the trunk, which is almost invisible. The spider is most easily found on the smooth trunks of beech trees, either by seeing it in silhouette, or by moving a shadow over the trunk to cause it to move.


It can be seen being 'sociable' with as many as 20 other spiders.





Adult females of this species can exceed 15mm in body length. Bristowe recorded a female laying 900 eggs which weighed twice as much as she did after the operation.


The round abdomen bears four large white spots forming a near square. Colours vary from greenish yellow, orange, rust-red or brown. It spins a large orb web, up to 40 cm in diameter, among coarse grass or low bushes but is rarely seen in its web, preferring to stay in its silken retreat which is usually above the top edge of the web, woven into the heads of the grasses.


Males are half the size of a female and rather more athletic.


The Cotswold scarp provides sites such as Coaley Peak, Haresfield Beacon and Cleeve Hill to support populations.




This impressive spider has a striking appearance. The female is up to 15 mm in length, bright green in colour with a darker mark outlined in yellow in the centre of the abdomen. The adult male is about 10 mm


in length with a green carapace and an abdomen with a central scarlet stripe and bordered by broad yellow bands.


Nationally, Micrommata's status has recently been categorised as 'vulnerable'. Records for Gloucestershire are from woodland in both the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. It favours open areas in deciduous woodland where there are coarse grasses, sedges and tree saplings.


This spider is very rapid in its movements and prey is captured by a quick dash from a stationary position.


Roger Gaunt, Moth Recorder for Gloucestershire has twice found Micrommata at his moth trap when examining the night's catch. A moth is a substantial meal for this opportunist spider.


Courtship takes place in late spring and mating may take 6-7 hours. After mating the male retires rapidly.


The mated female stitches together several leaves, often oak, to construct a silk lined 'nursery' tent where she stands guard. During this time she does not feed and becomes considerably emaciated.


The adult male has a short season of about 3 months and is rare. It has only been recorded in Gloucestershire on three occasions., twice in the Cotswolds and once in the Forest of Dean. Of the 15 county records since 1930 for both males and females, 11 are from the Cotswold woods.




Drystone walls are a feature of the Cotswold countryside. This apparently inhospitable habitat supports a small (7 mm body length) and prettily marked spider easily identified by its long spinnerets combined with a central reddish brown band on the abdomen, contrasting with the mainly black and white appearance.


Lifting a capping stone reveals a silken retreat within which the spider resides. Closer examination usually disturbs the spider, which runs off at great speed.


Courtship and mating is in May after which the female constructs an egg sac within the retreat.


Textrix can also be found in quarries or along disused railways running in the sun over hot stones or ballast.


In the Cotswolds, Breakheart Quarry, Crickley Hill Country Park, Swifts Hill and Aston Farm-disused railway are among sites where Textrix flourishes.






This is a characteristic spider of Cotswold grassland. It has an elongated appearance, up to 10 mm in body length, straw coloured with a darker streak down the centre line, and with pairs of black dots towards the rear of the abdomen. Found where grass has grown long, Tibellus lies head downwards along the blades of the leaves and, being camouflaged, is quite inconspicuous. It is a very agile species and passing insects are easily ambushed.


The season for mating is spring and the female will then spin a silken cocoon towards the top of grass heads and stand guard over it.


It is widespread in the southern half of England but becomes rarer and of more scattered distribution further north.


Sweeping rough grassland on the Cotswolds generally produces several individuals and especially large numbers have been found on a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve near Lechlade.



The Cotswolds landscape provides a range of habitats that support many different species of spider; in some cases it is the limestone grassland that is important, but the drystone walls also provide many sheltered niches, and the woodlands and grasslands between them offer supports for webs at different heights, together with a mix of light levels and humidity levels to suit many species.



The British Arachnological Society is fifty years old this year and its prime objective is to further the education of the public by promoting the study of the Arachnida, particularly spiders, harvestmen and pseudoscorpions. Visit. www.britishspiders.org.uk for more information.



Spiders in the Cotswolds




































Atypus affinis




Drapetisca socialis




Araneus quadratus




Micrommata virescens




Textrix denticulata




Tibellus oblongus






Picture
















Picture.




Picture




Picture




Picture




Picture




Habitat



This unusual looking spider has a body length of around 12 mm. It needs unimproved open habitats such as heathland, chalk grassland or other old grasslands.


In grassland it makes a tube, mainly in the ground in undisturbed areas around the edge of scrub and at the base of ant hills. The above-ground section is camouflaged with bits of earth and debris. Any prey walking across the tube is seized, and pulled through the wall of the tube, which is then repaired.


There are three known sites in the Cotswolds sites for this species.




Drapetisca is a small spider with long, thin legs. It has a body length of 3.2 -4 mm, and can be found on the bark of tree trunks, as well as in leaf litter and sometimes on fences in woods. The females construct a web of very fine threads, about 60 x 40 mm, often underneath protuberances on the trunk, which is almost invisible. The spider is most easily found on the smooth trunks of beech trees, either by seeing it in silhouette, or by moving a shadow over the trunk to cause it to move.


It can be seen being 'sociable' with as many as 20 other spiders.





Adult females of this species can exceed 15mm in body length. Bristowe recorded a female laying 900 eggs which weighed twice as much as she did after the operation.


The round abdomen bears four large white spots forming a near square. Colours vary from greenish yellow, orange, rust-red or brown. It spins a large orb web, up to 40 cm in diameter, among coarse grass or low bushes but is rarely seen in its web, preferring to stay in its silken retreat which is usually above the top edge of the web, woven into the heads of the grasses.


Males are half the size of a female and rather more athletic.


The Cotswold scarp provides sites such as Coaley Peak, Haresfield Beacon and Cleeve Hill to support populations.




This impressive spider has a striking appearance. The female is up to 15 mm in length, bright green in colour with a darker mark outlined in yellow in the centre of the abdomen. The adult male is about 10 mm


in length with a green carapace and an abdomen with a central scarlet stripe and bordered by broad yellow bands.


Nationally, Micrommata's status has recently been categorised as 'vulnerable'. Records for Gloucestershire are from woodland in both the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean. It favours open areas in deciduous woodland where there are coarse grasses, sedges and tree saplings.


This spider is very rapid in its movements and prey is captured by a quick dash from a stationary position.


Roger Gaunt, Moth Recorder for Gloucestershire has twice found Micrommata at his moth trap when examining the night's catch. A moth is a substantial meal for this opportunist spider.


Courtship takes place in late spring and mating may take 6-7 hours. After mating the male retires rapidly.


The mated female stitches together several leaves, often oak, to construct a silk lined 'nursery' tent where she stands guard. During this time she does not feed and becomes considerably emaciated.


The adult male has a short season of about 3 months and is rare. It has only been recorded in Gloucestershire on three occasions., twice in the Cotswolds and once in the Forest of Dean. Of the 15 county records since 1930 for both males and females, 11 are from the Cotswold woods.




Drystone walls are a feature of the Cotswold countryside. This apparently inhospitable habitat supports a small (7 mm body length) and prettily marked spider easily identified by its long spinnerets combined with a central reddish brown band on the abdomen, contrasting with the mainly black and white appearance.


Lifting a capping stone reveals a silken retreat within which the spider resides. Closer examination usually disturbs the spider, which runs off at great speed.


Courtship and mating is in May after which the female constructs an egg sac within the retreat.


Textrix can also be found in quarries or along disused railways running in the sun over hot stones or ballast.


In the Cotswolds, Breakheart Quarry, Crickley Hill Country Park, Swifts Hill and Aston Farm-disused railway are among sites where Textrix flourishes.






This is a characteristic spider of Cotswold grassland. It has an elongated appearance, up to 10 mm in body length, straw coloured with a darker streak down the centre line, and with pairs of black dots towards the rear of the abdomen. Found where grass has grown long, Tibellus lies head downwards along the blades of the leaves and, being camouflaged, is quite inconspicuous. It is a very agile species and passing insects are easily ambushed.


The season for mating is spring and the female will then spin a silken cocoon towards the top of grass heads and stand guard over it.


It is widespread in the southern half of England but becomes rarer and of more scattered distribution further north.


Sweeping rough grassland on the Cotswolds generally produces several individuals and especially large numbers have been found on a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve near Lechlade.


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