The Horrid ground-weaver (Nothophantes horridus) is one of the rarest invertebrates in the UK; it may also be one of the rarest spiders in the world! Buglife are developing new survey techniques to help find this rare spider.
This spider is so rare it has only been found in two places in the entire world! The two sites are both old limestone quarries in the Plymouth area.
The Horrid ground-weaver is a species of small money spider with a total body length of just 2.5mm. The spider’s name comes from the fact that its body is rather bristly – the Latin origin for the word horrid is bristly.
|Project Officer Duncan Allen checking pitfall traps for the Horrid ground-weaver © Andrew Whitehouse|
The Horrid ground-weaver is a UK BAP priority species for conservation action. It was first recorded in the UK in 1989 and then again in 1995, but has not been seen since. Plus, one of the sites where this species was known to live has been developed in to an industrial estate. So, the aim of this project is to re-find the spider in its historical sites and check other similar places in the area to see if it is there.
The Horrid ground-weaver is tricky to find due to its size and it habit of living deep in the cracks and crevices in the limestone, coming out at night to hunt on the rock slopes. It is necessary for us to come up with effective survey techniques – this way we can efficiently survey new sites for the spider. We are using some new and unusual survey techniques, such as drinking straw crevice traps, platform pitfall traps and a bug hoover!
This is a partnership project with the University of Plymouth, supported by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and The Whitley Conservation Trust.