Conservationists Have Called for Action to Protect Welsh Spiders

By Tom Pritchard on at

Nobody likes spiders, and anyone who says they do is either a god damn liar or probably doesn't know what a spider is. They're creepy as fuck, and they hang around houses acting like they pay rent when the reality is they're dirty freeloaders. Well some of them are endangered, and conservationists want to make sure they get protection.

According to National Resources Wales and the British Arachnological Society, there are 500 spider species in Wales - a number of which aren't found elsewhere. 18 of those species are deemed critically endangered, and a further 84 are critically endangered or vulnerable. Both organisations claim that spiders are an essential part of the environment, and that the report highlights the fact action should be taken to protect some of the rarest species in Britain.

Horrible as spiders may be, they do have a point. They are predators, and without the predators keeping populations in check we would find ourselves overrun with flies and all the other also-nasty things spiders like to snack on. Still, if a spider is inside my house and it can't be caught in a cup (too big, too fast, or in an awkward position) it's going up the vacuum cleaner.

Fortunately the rarest species seem to live in particular environments - the lack of which is leading to a decline. That includes the sand running spider which camouflages itself in the sand and actively hunts its prey, the cave dwelling spider which spends its entire life underground, and the fen raft spider which is one of the largest spiders in Britain. Females of that species can grow up to 22mm in length, which is probably enough to make grown men scream and run away.

Spiders are reportedly tricky to breed and farm, because of their tendency to eat each other at any given opportunity. Plus with the rare species, particularly those that hide away, they can be difficult to find in the first place. The BAS uses a vacuum sampler, which sucks up the spiders without damaging the surrounding vegetation, letting them sift through them all at a later time. Well, if a vacuum is good enough to get them out of the house, why wouldn't it work for collecting them for research?

So yeah, save the spiders. I guess. Just keep them all away from me. [BBC News]

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