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The Fascinating World of Spiders

Friday, October 18th 2019

Earlier in the week, a member of the British Arachnalogical Society visited to deliver some staff training on spider identification. Jim Pewtress (aka Spiderman) spent the first part of the morning explaining the different types of spider that can be found in the UK (there are 680 species in total). 

One way to differentiate spiders is by their webs which can be sheet, radial, tangle or hammock in design. The anatomy of the arachnid was also covered.

After a virtual tour of the spider world the team headed out into the field to catch some live specimens. Sweep nets were used in an area adjacent to the heathland.

Some with more success than others (better luck next time Gerry)! It was surprising how many spiders were lurking in the damp grasses and over twenty were found altogether in a short space of time.

The contents of the nets were emptied into white plastic trays and pooters were then used to lift the spiders carefully into pots.

Back at the field centre, a microscope was used to study the creatures in more detail.

A small glass dish filled with tiny white beads showed the spiders up well. 

Identifying animals that are only 2.4mm in length requires a lot of patience and skill. Over half of the spiders in the UK are in the money spider family like the one shown here.

Jim explained the intricacies of spider identification; the males have larger palps than females (they look a bit like boxing gloves) and the shape of these amongst other factors is key to distinguishing one species from another. The photo below shows a palp of a house spider. The small dark object in the centre has a distinct hook shape.

This was compared to the illustration from a book to identify the spider as Tegenaria duellica one of a possible eleven species of Tegenaria found in Europe.

Our sincere thanks to Jim for providing a valuable insight into the fascinating world of spiders!


 


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Meadow Mayhem

Saturday 4th July 2020 | 10.00am - 12 noon

Celebrate National Meadows Day!

Join us for a morning exploring the many wildflower meadows found at Foxglove. We will be learning how to ID wildflowers and grasses, as well as sweep netting for butterflies and insects and identifying them. This event is part of the Flowers of the Dales Festival

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This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



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Sunday 19th July 2020 | 1.00pm start

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a Dragonfly and a Damselfly? Can you tell the difference between the different species of blue damselfly? Would you like to learn more about theses fascinating animals that have been around since prehistoric times? Join Keith Gittens for a walk around the beautiful Foxglove ponds (some of which are usually out of bounds to visitors) and observe as many different species as you can. Last year, a new species for the reserve was discovered on this event!

Booking is essential as places are limited. There is a donation of £5 per person to be paid in advance in order to secure a place. Payments now can be made on the phone.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



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This book has been published with the aim of enabling people visiting these, immensely important Flagship Pond Sites in North Yorkshire, to identify the dragonflies and damselflies they encounter - by reference to a simple text and photographs. Credits - Yorkshire Dragonfly Group & Freshwater Habitats Trust

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