Rare large yellow and black spider found at Parke

Yesterday at Parke I found three specimens of the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi. This large and rather striking spider was first recorded in Britain in 1922 where for many years it was restricted to Sussex. From the mid 60’s onwards it appears to have started to spread. In 2008 I found a single wasp spider on Devon Wildlife Trust’s Chudleigh Knighton Heath reserve but this is the first time it has been found at Parke.

Wasp spider 1Striking black, yellow and white markings  – note also the zig-zag markings on the web in the bottom of the photo – very characteristic

Wasp spider 2The wasp spider makes it web in grassland where it tries to catch grasshoppers – above it has been successful

Wasp spider distribution

Here is the national distribution of the species – courtesy of the British Arachnalogical Society  – who also run a great website where there is lots more information.

dist-scheme-test.php

Finally here is a distribution map for the species in Devon – not very common! As you can see from the photos it is a large and very distinctive species so if you find this species in Devon – let me know and I will make sure it gets added to the national database.

Oh … and I forgot to mention it is NOT harmful to people!

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