I’ve been doing a spot of sweeping and bush
-whacking-beating recently on Wanstead Flats. I have been particularly interested in some of the spiders I have found.
Two of the spiders are probably not confirmable by photos, but are also… probably… really interesting and, certainly in one case, nationally rare.
Local-ish spider expert, David Carr told me about an unusual immature ‘Araniella‘ species that he had found on a recent visit. Araniella spiders in the orb weaver family include the commonly found ‘cucumber’ spider with a the green(ish) abdomen (A. cucurbitina and A. opisthographa). But his one ‘looked’ different and more like the nationally rare A. displicata. Anyhow, David is attempting to rear the spider to maturity to double check its identity.
Without David explaining exactly where he came across his find, I innocently tapped a strange looking Araniella sp out of a Hawthorn. I should also pause to explain that in amongst my ‘catch’ was a more typical ‘cucumber’ spider. But, the spider in question looks remarkably similar to photos in the literature and online sources of the rarity, A. displicata. I have iRecorded as Araniella sp., and thoughts from anyone better informed than me are welcome.
It turns out that this Hawthorn bush was really rather productive. Aside from some interesting bugs (Hemiptera), and a few other things, another spider came out of it that made me raise my eyebrows. We are very lucky to get a number of the ‘running (crab) spiders’ (Philidromidae) and at least two of the rarities have been found here by David Carr in the past: Philodromus buxi and P. rufus. Well, guess what? One of my Hawthorn catch looks very, very much like P. rufus. Even the experts agree that it is ‘probably’ P. rufus. Unfortunately for me, but rightly, the spider authorities are an exacting bunch and without study of the genitalia, records of P. rufus will not be accepted.