The Great Fox-Spider Returns! General Chat 

One of Britain’s largest spiders has been spotted for the first time in more than a quarter of a century after it was feared to be extinct.

The critically endangered great fox-spider, one of the biggest of the wolf-spider Lycosidae family of spiders, was rediscovered at a Ministry of Defence training site in Surrey.

The “impressive beast” had not been seen since the early 1990s and had only ever been found at three sites in Dorset and Surrey.

Mike Waite, from Surrey Wildlife Trust, said he was “over the moon” with the discovery.

“This formidable-looking creature is an impressive beast, perfectly camouflaged and also largely nocturnal, and for all its size it has been remarkably elusive,” he said.

ANIMALS Spider 10372986-1.jpg ANIMALS Spider 10372988.jpg

Mr Waite spent two years searching late at night for the creature before discovering some unidentifiable immature spiderlings on military land.

He then found several mature males and one female great-fox spider, which measured 55mm, or just over two inches, in diameter including its hairy, spiny legs.

The Alopecosa fabrilis is an opportunistic predator that hunts at night and is named for its wolf-like habit of chasing down its prey, across sandy terrain, over gravel and rocks before pouncing and capturing insects on the run.

The spider has eight black eyes and will immobilise its prey, including beetles, ants and smaller spiders, by injecting them with venom that liquefies the internal organs of the insect.

The creatures shelter in silk-lined burrows or holes under rocks.

Nick Baker, a naturalist, TV presenter and president of the British Arachnological Society, described the rediscovery as “the most exciting thing to happen in wildlife circles for quite some time”.

“The prefix ‘great’ doesn’t seem to do it justice, maybe it should be the fabulous or fantastic fox-spider,” he said.

“Even if the back story of its rarity and its rediscovery wasn’t taken into count, this spider is mega.

“It’s about as handsome as a spider gets, it’s big and now it’s officially a member of the British fauna again.”
 

Tom

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Jun 6, 2020
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Wow. Nice looking spider. Much bigger than the wolf spiders around here. Our biggest spider, IIRC, are the dock spiders (local common name, forget the proper name for them) you find along shores, on piers, etc. We have them around the family cottage on a lake in Central Ontario. No risk of disappearing for them, though. Waterfronts across Ontario know the terror of the dock spider. 😨
 
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Mendalla

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This:



They can apparently give you a good nip but the bite isn't especially dangerous. Still scare the willies out of me (I'm arachnophobic in spite of having a fondness for our eight-legged overlords). Once had an egg sack hatch under our waterfront patio. Hundreds of tiny spiders all over the rocks. And Mom was still around, too, so I think maybe they care for their young like wolf spiders do.
 
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Mendalla

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