Wasp spiders in the meadows at Parke

In the parkland at Parke there is a large fenced meadow which has been under grazed for a number of years. It is a species rich grassland and contains a number of wet meadow species such as marsh thistle, meadowsweet, sneezewort and the corky fruited water dropwort. The aim is to graze the meadow next year with cattle to improve the wildlife in it.

I was doing a survey in the meadow yesterday in advance of the new grazing project and found a large population of the wasp spider Argiope bruennichi. I found another population of wasp spiders at Parke last year in the water meadows – see here.

Wasp spider 1
Wasp spiders are large and very distinctive spiders – first recorded in Britain in the 1920s – they are gradually spreading

Wasp spider 2
Their webs are very characteristic  too – note the zig zag pattern

Wasp spider 3
Wasp spiders specialise in catching grasshoppers which they inject with poison and then wrap in their silk

Meadow grasshopper
The meadow grasshopper – the major prey of wasp spiders at Parke

Cicadella viridis
The wet meadows at Parke are also full of the very common green leafhopper Cicadella viridis

Parkland meadowThe meadow in the parkland  – once the cattle arrive I will write about it.

Wasp spiders flourish in places where there is no grazing so they won’t be a permanent feature of these meadows but  there are other places at Parke where they will survive

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