Spider Report 2022
2022 was my first year as a recorder for the society and was spent mostly learning more about these wonderful creatures. Spiders often invoke either a fascination, myself included or a fear bordering on a genuine phobia for some. My aim dear reader is to assuage that fear and help one to appreciate how important spiders are to our native ecology. Chinese and many Asian cultures perceive spiders as lucky and the Native North American ‘Dream Catcher’ hanging mobile that so many tourists bring back is modelled on the orb webs of spiders.
Britain has circa 670 different species of spiders mostly native but some imports as one would expect. We have some incredibly rare species specific to isolated locations such as the Ladybird Spider (Eresus sandaliatus) but we are finding that some species previously thought to have been more localised in certain parts of Britain are spreading further afield.
What many do not realise is that spiders are a fundamental piece of the ecological food chain, with surveys completed by the British Arachnological Society (BAS) discovering that there can be as many as 600-800 spiders per square metre of untreated, wild flower meadows and grasslands. Not only do spiders prey on other invertebrates that we might consider ‘pests’ but they are also food for larger species especially birds, small mammals and reptiles. Intensive farming practices, especially spraying, has a severe impact on spider populations, ergo other species that rely on them for food.
2023 is shaping up to be an interesting year for spiders and I look forward to sharing the society’s findings with you.