Saving the small things that run the planet

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Ladybird Spider Project

The Ladybird spider (Eresus sandaliatus) is one of the UK’s most spectacular spiders, but also one of our most endangered – it is at risk of extinction in the UK.

This spider was thought to be extinct in Britain for over 70 years until it was rediscovered in 1980 at a single site in Dorset where only a few spiders were found. Following successful habitat management the population has now expanded and increased to its current level of nearly 1000 individuals!

Since 2000, the Ladybird spider species recovery programme has successfully established fourteen additional colonies across the Dorset Heathlands. However, to stabilise and secure this spider for future generations we need to establish a total of twenty populations in the wild.


Back From The Brink aims to establish at least six new populations on suitable sites across the Dorset Heathlands. To ensure that we reach our target of twenty healthy populations, this project will also:

  • monitor all of our Ladybird spider populations to ensure that they are healthy and sustainable
  • maintain high quality suitable habitat at new and existing Ladybird spider sites to allow populations to expand and spread naturally.


We will also engaging and inspiring local communities, and visitors to Dorset, with the Ladybird spider conservation story, and sharing our enthusiasm for all awesome arachnids!


The Ladybird spider Back From The Brink project is a partnership between Buglife, Natural England, the Forestry Commission, Dorset Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, the British Arachnological Society, the National Trust, the Ministry of Defence and Life-Forms.

The project is part of Back From The Brink which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The project is also kindly supported by the project partners and by individual donations.

Get involved!

Visit our events page to find out about Back From the Brink activities near you.