National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Seriously Scary Spiders

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cave spider???????????????????????????????????????????????????Repelled by light and living in permanently dark, damp habitats such as cellars, mines and sewers, the European cave spider, Meta menardi, is especially creepy and even a spider enthusiast may feel a little unsettled by them.
The storage bunkers beneath some of Studland’s WWII buildings provide an ideal habitat and a good number were seen on a recent visit there, catching mosquitoes in their webs or waiting to pounce on moths seeking a winter refuge. Beside them were large, white teardrop-shaped egg sacs suspended from the roof on silk threads. The spiderlings that emerge from them will initially be attracted to light, helping them to colonise new areas.
These spiders are amongst the largest found in the U.K. and, although not rare, they often go unnoticed. Researchers have recently discovered that they have some of the most elastic silk of any spider species, stretching up to 7.5 times its initial length.

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Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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