Saturday, 5 November 2011

Purse web spider

This Fantastic Arachnid is a purse web spider. I found this male on a cliff path the other week. They act very like funnel web spider or trapdoor spiders (they all belong to the same suborder along with tarantulas), However this is the only example of the genus in the UK. They make a burrow and line it with a tunnel of silk. The difference with the purse web is that the silken tunnel continues out of the burrow and runs along the ground. The spider detects and insect moving over this external section and bites it through the wall of the tunnel before dragging it inside. These tunnels are very hard to spot and the spiders are usually only seen (as with this one) when the male is out searching for a females burrow so they can mate. The male will then remain in the burrow with the female until he dies and she can eat him. However he will at least of had a long life as it take  these spiders 4 years to reach sexual maturity.
Notices the HUGE muscles behind the fangs for puncturing prey.

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