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Bog sun jumping spider (c) Lorne Gill

© Bog sun jumping spider (c) Lorne Gill

Bog sun jumper spider

Bog sun jumping spider (c) Lorne Gill

Fast facts

  • Latin name: Heliophanus dampfi
  • Notable feature: Black thorax and abdomen, brown legs with iridescent green mouth parts.
  • Rarity in UK: Rare / Common
  • Where in the UK: 5 raised bog sites in central Scotland (Flanders Moss, Ochtertyre, Dunmore Moss, Wester Moss and Letham Moss) and Cors Foncho in western Wales
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This tiny jumping spider is one of the rarest in Britain.  Only found in raised bogs, it hides at the base of grass tussocks in poor weather, emerging when conditions improve.  It was recently discovered in Flanders moss during a bioblitz which Buglife was involved in.  It is a species in dire need of recording and conservation for future generations. This species is present from June until August.

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What is a Jumping spider?

These spiders get their name from their ability to leap distances.  They use this ability to catch prey and for crossing gaps.  Bog sun jumpers are able to accurately judge distance by having two large eyes on a flat face that point forward.  Some species of jumping spiders also use this good vision in elaborate courtship rituals consisting of bright colours and extravagant dancing manoeuvres.

Bright Green Palps

A striking feature of the bog sun jumper is its lime green palps.  In spiders the palps are the second pair of appendages lateral to the jaws.  They are used to transfer sperm from the male to the female.  In males the palps are enlarged compared to females and can often appear like boxing gloves.

Threatened species

The decline of these spiders can be linked to the loss of raised bogs. Erosion as a result of excessive drainage and overgrazing from agriculture is a common problem; disconnecting bog sites.  Climate change is another factor killing many of the plants in raised bog habitats by drying them out.  Increased Afforestation is also draining bogs by diverting water to unnatural forests. Peat extraction for use in soil products is also destroying raised bogs.  Peat is disappearing at a rate in which it cannot be suitably regenerated.

Fun Fact:

Bog sun jumper spiders were only discovered in Britain 30 years ago! 

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