Family : Sparassidae
Genus : Micrommata
Sparassids lie in wait and grab passing prey. Mating begins with the male
gripping the female's leg or abdomen in his chelicerae, it can last up to seven
This photograph was taken by my good friend, Gary Bradley,
of UKSafari.com, on his barge in the North East of France. Gary tells me
that they are in abundance in the area.
Source : Spider Recording Scheme, Collins Field Guide to Spiders of
Britain and Northern Europe - Michael J. Roberts, Spiders of Britain and
Northern Europe - Dick Jones.
Micrommata sp - M. virescens or M. ligurina
Photograph by Gary Bradley
Family : Philodromidae
Genus : Philodromus
Known as the Turf running spider.
Female Philodromus cespitum
Bevendean Down, Brighton, East Sussex
I found this spider on gorse at Bevendean Down, Brighton, East Sussex. It
appears to have a hitcher - a young Velvet mite. The mite feeds on the spider,
but does not harm it, as it will eventually drop off when approaching
adulthood. "This is almost certainly the form
which has an overall pale top surface to the abdomen. Philodromus
cespitum and others in the aureolus group are very variable, and can't
generally be identified from photos, and lots of arachnologists have
trouble even under a microscope, but this is the one variety which is
pretty certain". Peter Harvey - British Arachnological Society
Entomologist's Society. It is a truly fascinating read and I found that I was
hooked on the idea of rearing these parasitoids.
In March of 2014, I found this Tetragnatha sp., on a life buoy at Railway
Land Nature Reserve in Lewes, East Sussex.
Railway land Nature Reserve, Lewes, East Sussex 15.03.14
I collected this spider and sent these images to Dr. Mark Shaw :
"It will be one of two Acrodactyla species. Both are quite widespread and
fairly common ex Tetragnatha spp."
Two weeks later, the larva had pupated, attached to the silk left by the now
Brighton, East Sussex
Roughly two weeks later, the parasitoid hatched from it's coccoon.
Brighton, East Sussex 02.04.14
The hatched Acrodactyla sp. (Tetragnatha spp. parasitoid) "Male Acrodactyla carinator (Aubert 1965)" - Id by Dr. Mark Shaw
The Wasp is now stored at the Scottish Natural History Museum.
The day after finding the Tetragnatha spp. in Lewes, I found a Baby
Araniella sp., also with an attached parasitoid, in Isfield, East Sussex
The spider was about 1,5mm in size, and difficult to photograph, but I sent
these images to Dr. Mark Shaw : "On
Araniella in that position it might be Sinarachna pallipes. Otherwise,
if in a transverse position like your thing from G. gibbosa, there are 2
Polysphincta species that are possible : P. boops (rare), and P.
My next find, was this Agalenatea redii playing host to a parasite. I was sat by a stream at Ditchling Common, East Sussex, when this spider appeared on my leg. I collected it and took it home, to rear.
Ditchling Common, East Sussex 18.04.14 Again, I sent this image to Dr. Mark Shaw : "That
could be really interesting - the position suggests it is not a
Polysphincta (which is the genus that usually goes for the larger
araneids)". The larva pupated 23.04.14, but unfortunately, the adult did not emerge. I sent the remains to Dr.
Mark Shaw - "The remnants of your A. redii parasitoid (from Ditchling
Common) had got to pharate adult stage, and
is probably in good enough condition to get a det via DNA...I will send
it to Niclas Fritzen". Currently awaiting a DNA reading.
My next find, was this young spider, from the Theridiidae family. I sent the images to Peter harvey of the B.A.S. / S.R.S., who kindly identified it as probably Achaearanea sp. It was on a gravestone that I visit at the Extra Mural Cemetery in Brighton. Theridiidae (possibly Achaearanea juvenile) with parasite Extra Mural Cemetery, Brighton, East Sussex 14.06.14
Two days after collecting this parasite and host, the larva pupated. Brighton 16.06.14 Brighton 23.06.14 One week later, the Theridiidae parasite hatched. I sent it to Dr Mark Shaw to identify :
"It is a male Zatypota albicoxa, which is indeed a
parasitoid of Achaearanea spp, and rather uncommon in Britain". Two months later, 22.08.14, whilst looking at the same gravestone where I found the Achaearanea spp. with parasite, I found a pupa (no spider present). I collected it to see if I could raise it to hatch. It hatched one week later. I think it may be a female Zatypota albicoxa. Brighton 29.08.14 Possibly a female Zatypota albicoxa, with cocoon.
I sent this to Dr. Mark Shaw : "Indeed it is a female Zatypota albicoxa. Thanks
very much - I am pleased to have another nice specimen of it, and it is
nice to know that a single gravestone can be so productive!"
I photographed this Achaearanea sp., with parasitoid larva, in an old
woodland. I did not collect the spider, as I did not notice the attached larva
until I enlarged the photograph, later that day.
Hassocks, West Sussex 24.09.14
From the same woodland, and on the same day, I collected this Metellina sp.,
with attached parasitoid larva.
Five days later, the larva had grown considerably. Brighton
The larva got so big and heavy, that it pulled the spider from it's web. Luckily, it landed on the cotton wool that I had placed inside the container, so to safely transport the spider.
The "paler than usual non-overwintering coccoon" - Dr. Mark Shaw
I sent these images to Dr. Mark Shaw, who told me that "it is the only British
species of the "polysphinctine"
spider-parasitoids group that overwinters as a
cocoon - all the others
do it as a very small larva on the overwintering host
spider (at least,
as far as is known...one or two species have yet to be reared).
will not hatch until next year - it will need to be kept in a cool and
place (ie not too dry...in an outbuilding that doesnt get sunshine,
or a garage),
but you could bring it indoors again in about March and
it should hatch OK.
Although it is not a really rare species, it would
be vey nice to have the
specimen in due course because specimens from
known hosts are always
valuable (although I appreciate the host det in
this case may only be to genus).
I did this, and to my surprise, the adult hatched a week later. Brighton
I sent the adult wasp, the coccoon and the remains of the spider to
Dr. Mark Shaw. He identified it as a female Megaetaira madida. "I guess that, as it is anyway plurivoltine, that Megaetaira madida of
yours just squeezed in an extra generation and hatched without
overwintering. But the species does overwinter in a cocoon (I presume
rather than on a host, ever - but I suppose it may be able to do both,
though I would be a bit surprised)". I'd like to thank Dr. Mark Shaw for all the fascinating information that he has shared on this subject. I will continue to search for spider parasitoids and attempt to rear them to adulthood.
Paynes Bee Farm Hassocks, West Sussex 10.07.15
spider is Theridion varians (or possibly T. hemerobium, which can be
very similar). The parasitoid on T. varians is usually Zatypota
percontatoria, but sometimes when the larva is anteriorly (like on this
specimen) I have also got Z. bohemani from this species". Niclas Fritzen
"The spider parasitoid is male Zatypota percontatoria...quite common ex Theridion varians".
Dr Mark Shaw
Zatypota percontatoria The beginnings of a cocoon 18.07.15
For the record. Zatypota percontatoria 28.07.15
Metellina sp., with Parasitoid larva attached. Found at Paynes Bee Farm 08.10.15
"The parasitoid on Metellina is presumably Megaetaira madida (used to
be in genus Acrodactyla) which is one of the very few polysphinctines
that overwinter in their cocoon". - Dr Mark Shaw
Linyphidae (possibly young Labulla thoracica) with parasitoid larva attached Brighton 27.11.16 "It
will be in the Acrodactyla degerer complex…either Acrodactyla degener
or A. similis (but there might be yet more spp)". - Dr Mark Shaw I am presently rearing this parasitoid.
The larva has pupated - roughly two weeks from now, an adult Wasp will emerge.
Clubiona sp. with parasitoid larva
"Two fairly common British species of the genus Schizopyga parasitises
Clubiona species, and another (very rare) Schizopyga uses Cheiracanthium
[there is a 4th in Britain, with unknown host, and at least two more in
Europe, also with unknown hosts]. The egg placement of Schizopyga is at
the back of the cephalothorax, as in your pic" - Dr Mark Shaw Brighton 07.12.16 I am presently rearing this parasitoid.
The Clubionid Parasitoid has emerged. It is Schizopyga circulator (confirmed by Dr Mark Shaw) Brighton 27.12.16