Rare jumping spider found on Marches Mosses
September 5, 2018
The species was found in the same area as a nationally notable spider, Sitticus caricis; both are kinds of jumping spider. The reason they have been able to thrive is because the natural water table of the bog habitat they rely upon is being managed and maintained as part of the Marches Mosses BogLIFE project.
These exciting discoveries were made by spider expert and editor of the British Arachnological Society newsletter, Richard Gallon as part of a survey for the Tanyptera Trust. He said, “Amazing to think how these species have responded to the improved habitat management. Presumably they were able to cling on in tiny refuges of habitat during the difficult period when land was being drained for commercial peat cutting.”
Richard also confirmed that the Marches Mosses is the only known location for both species in Britain. In another discovery he found a small Money Spider, Carotia limnae on the Welsh side of the Mosses. This rare find is a first for Wales, as previously it had only been found on the English side and is known in just one other location in the UK.
Dr Joan Daniels, Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project Officer, said: “Jumping spiders are particularly attractive, hunting actively by day and sealing themselves in silken cells at night to sleep. This is in contrast to most spiders, which are more active at night. Whereas most spiders detect their prey through sensory hairs and vibrations on their webs, the jumping spiders look very personable as they have big forward facing eyes to give them binocular vison to help them to judge how far to jump. They can also move their retinas back to give them very sharp eye-sight to focus on their prey, and can jump about ten times their body length.”
The finding of these rare bog spiders, which are only 4 – 4.5mm in length, in the rewetted peat cuttings of the Marches Mosses is evidence of the effectiveness of the ongoing restoration work of a partnership of Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Shropshire Wildlife Trust. This work will be enhanced in the coming years through a multi-million pound improvement programme, the EU LIFE and Heritage Lottery funded Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project.
Dr Daniels added “This is a fantastic find, of nationally important spiders which can only live on bogs. It’s one of the many reasons to save and restore this, Britain’s third largest raised bog. It is wonderful to know that all of that restoration work here is paying off and populations of these gorgeous little stripy jumping spiders are now increasing.”