Aliens penetrate Scotland!!

Discussion in 'Wildlife in the Garden' started by eileen, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
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    SCOTLAND is being invaded by new breeds of spider which are marching north as a result of climate change, according to experts. New species of large spiders - some previously found only in exotic countries - have been creeping north of the Border as temperatures rise.

    Entomologists warn that a spider called a false black widow, known to rush at people who get too close, is on its way.

    false black widow spider:

    The dark-coloured spider comes from the Canary Islands and Madeira and has been brought into the country in boxes of imported bananas. Experts also believe that a giant black and yellow species called the wasp spider will soon be scuttling into Scotland.

    wasp spider:


    Kate Turnbull, press and marketing officer at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "We have been amazed at the increase in the number of inquiries about the strange spiders people are finding, whether it be in their fruit, on the pavement or in their back garden. Our spider expert has been very busy these past few weeks trying to identify the eight-legged species invading Scotland."

    Scotland has already been infiltrated by the Steatoda grossa species, often mistaken for the venomous black widow. It has been spotted in Orkney and has a bite as painful as a wasp sting.

    Alastair Lavery, head of education for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "With most spiders, you have to work hard to get them to bite you - pick them up, carry them around or pull their legs off.

    "But this one will rush people who get too close to its web. It is an aggressive spider and has established quite a reputation for snapping at people who come too close."

    The hairy Uloborus plumipes, commonly known as a garden centre spider, has also been setting up home in the central belt. It follows the migration of larger breeds of the common house spiders Tegenaria and Amaurobius from south of the Border in recent years.

    Mr Lavery said the movement had been sparked by global warming, which had made Scotland more hospitable to the spiders. He said: "There are a lot of species spreading north in various ways and it is almost certainly because temperatures are going up. If the predicted temperature trends continue, these kind of spiders will soon arrive. People also move around a lot and take spiders with them in their furniture, so they are becoming more common."

    Mr Lavery said the spiders would cause alarm if spotted north of the Border because Scots are used to small spiders. He added: "Most of the spiders in Scotland are around two to three millimetres in length and are mistaken for money spiders. They can do what they want and nobody will notice, but these ones are bigger and will certainly be noticed."

    He also said fear of spiders may be part of our make-up. "It is quite probable that we are predisposed to be frightened of spiders. If you have a bad experience directly or indirectly when you are young you will be frightened of spiders all through your life."

    But while the influx of large spiders is likely to have the population squirming, Mr Lavery is keen to point out their uses.

    He said: "Spiders should be admired and enjoyed. They eat midges and will consume around half of the insects in the area where they live."

    However, the manager of Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World disputed reports of new breeds.

    Tamsin Job said so-called "exotic" spiders were likely to be large domestic species. She added: "It's been a warm summer, which is good for insects. That means there's plenty of food around for spiders, so they can grow quite large. I'm very sceptical of claims of any new species".

    Article written by: Alistair Lavery. Head of Education for the RSPB.

    ...this one will rush people who get too close to its web. It is an aggressive spider and has established quite a reputation for snapping at people who come too close.

    Considering the same man just said:

    With most spiders, you have to work hard to get them to bite you - pick them up, carry them around or pull their legs off.

    Can you blame them for snapping? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Take note that Alastair Lavery is from the RSPB - we all know what birds eat, don't we? :D :D
  2. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 25, 2005
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    Galway, Ireland
    Interesting article Eileen. Makes you think doesn't it about how species move due to climate change. What species will be your area in 100 hundred years time? Hmmm. :eek: :eek:

    I don't really fear spiders, but I understand why people do. My theory is that it is partly because of their many legs, squirming at the same time. Also consider this "The average person eats about 2 to 5 spiders in his sleep, per year." :eek:

    The only spiders I saw which really frightened me were a species of hopping spider in Malta (You'd be looking at it crawling along the floor a metre away from you and in an instant it is at your feet) and a spider I remember from my childhood. It had a massive body, the size of a marble no joke, but I remember my brother made short work of it with more than one spray of Windolene. Not a pleasent death but I wasn't grieving for it that's for sure :D
  3. Capt Kirk

    Capt Kirk Thank a Veteran today!

    Sep 10, 2005
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    Ohio, USA
    We have a spider over here that looks a lot like that 2nd spider picture. But I think it has more black on it. We have always called it a garden spider. They usually build their webs in the garden trying ti get small insects going after the blooms.

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