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Large fox spider re-discovered on Department of Defense ground in UK


Oct 29, 2020

One of Britain’s endangered spiders has been sighted for the first time in a generation.

The large fox spider is listed as critically endangered and has been threatened with extinction in the UK.

It was ever found in only three locations, Dorset and Surrey, and has not been seen since the early 1990s.

Mike Waite, who rediscovered spiders at the Department of Defense (DOD) training ground in Surrey, said he was “in seventh heaven.”

The spider enthusiast initially found several unidentified immature spiders at the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust after “hours of night torch searches over the past two years.”

The discovery led to the emergence of several mature males and females.

The large fox spider, Alopecosa fabrilis, lives on the ground and is mostly nocturnal. It is one of the largest wolf spiders Lycosidae, a family of spiders.

According to the Surrey Wildlife Trust, he has excellent vision – with all-round vision provided by eight black eyes – and catches insects at speed, chasing them across sandy terrain, over gravel and rocks before dashing at them.

Mr. Waite of the Surrey Wildlife Trust said: “I am naturally in seventh heaven to finally prove the continued existence of the big fox spider in the UK.

“Although I have always had a latent interest in spiders as a conscientious arachnologist, I am still a relative newbie, so I am doubly pleased that I have made this important contribution to our scientific knowledge.”

Nick Baker, naturalist, broadcaster and president of the British Arachnological Society, said the spider was “mega”, adding, “He’s about as beautiful as a spider, he’s big, and is now officially a member of the British fauna again.”

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