Worcestershire Record No. 27 November 2009 p. 17


John Partridge

In common with almost all other invertebrates this year, spiders have not been around in large numbers, but a few records are worth mentioning.

In a group surveying day on the Malvern Hills on 30th July 2009, SO 757440, close to the Herefordshire border, my attention was drawn to a spider consuming a bee, in the top of a thistle. The spider looked like Enoplognatha ovata, and I nearly dismissed it as such, but it didn’t seem quite right, either in appearance or habitat, so I collected it, and later identified it as Enoplognatha latimana – as far as I know a first for Worcestershire. This has a mainly coastal distribution, plus Norfolk and the Thames corridor. It prefers more open and drier locations than E. ovata.

Enoplognatha latimana
© Geoff Oxford

For those of you familiar with E. ovata, apart from the rather different habitat, E. latimana usually  lacks the characteristic black spots on the abdomen, and should be recognisable now that we know it is here.

The picture shows the three colour varieties of E. ovata on the left, and two of the colour varieties of E. latimana on the right. The third colour variety of E. latimana has only been found once in Britain.

The next species – Nigma walckenaeria - was first recorded in Elmley Castle SO984410 in October 2003, and then in Harry Green’s garden in Little Comberton SO966431 in 2007. David Stratford, who produced the wonderful pictures shown at the April indoor meeting, photographed a pair in his garden towards the end of September. This is a small, pretty, green spider, which again has an Essex distribution which is expanding.. The Spider Atlas says that it spins a small web on the upper surface of leaves and bushes, particularly Lilac, Forsythia, Holly and Ivy. It is adult in late summer, and for those who like to name drop, it has been found in Buckingham Palace gardens. So please keep an eye open and join H.M. in having one in your garden.

Nigma walckenaeria female
 with hoverfly prey
© David Stratford

Nigma walckenaeria
 male and female
 © David Stratford

It is also worth recording that Mick Blythe collected two of Wyre’s ’specials’ in The Great Bog on 8th July 2009. These were Araneus alsine and Neriene radiata. Neither are common, even in Wyre, and it is nice to know that they are still around.

The national distribution of all these species can be found on the NBN Gateway (up to 2000), or the BAS website www.britishspiders.org.uk ( this includes more recent records)

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