One week to save critically endangered spider

Tuesday 13th January 2015

Plans to build new houses in an old quarry in Plymouth, could push one of the World’s rarest spiders, the Horrid ground weaver (Nothophantes horridus), close to extinction says Buglife, a conservation charity petitioning for its survival.

This tiny money spider is only found in Plymouth and nowhere else in the world. It is only known at three sites, one of which has already been built on and lost. The proposed development for 57 new houses in Radford Quarry, in Plymstock, would destroy the second site and a vital ‘green lung’ of Plymouth.

Originally the development was refused by Plymouth Council but the applicant is appealing the decision and a planning inquiry is due to start on the 20th January. An online petition has been created by Buglife asking for help from the public to stop this destruction, but there is only one week left before the petition must be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will ultimately make the decision.

Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager of Buglife says “The Horrid ground weaver is an extremely rare species. It is amazing that one of the World’s rarest spiders is only found in Plymouth – and that is why Radford Quarry is of global significance for wildlife. Failure to protect this site could be catastrophic for this tiny spider.”

Radford Quarry is a County Wildlife Site and home to a wonderful array of interesting bugs and other wildlife. As well as being home to the Critically Endangered spider, the Horrid ground weaver, there are species such as the Wall brown butterfly (Lasiommata megera) and the ground beetle Tachys bistriatus, both species have declined in numbers considerably over recent years. The petition to save the Horrid ground weaver can be found here