Jul 28 2023

Memorable Moments on the Heath 6: Heather Spider

Welcome to the sixth in a series, compiled by Warden Mike, featuring the Thames Basin Heaths Partnership team recalling memorable moments on the heath.

Warden Ruth: Heather Spider

One of my favourite memories formed whilst out exploring our beautiful lowland heathland with a bunch of invertebrate enthusiasts. Our aim was to find as many different species of invertebrates as we could within a couple of hours or so. My hope was to see a particular spider species that had been eluding me – Thomisus onustus, otherwise known as the Heather Spider.

We picked up our butterfly nets and set out under expert supervision to start our invertebrate adventure. Many different tiny creatures were found, from Velvet Ants to the charismatic Hornet Robber Fly. Then, after much searching, on some Bell Heather, I finally saw it… a beautiful mauve female Heather Spider. A small yet striking and colourful type of crab spider, patiently awaiting its prey to visit, whilst sat on the Bell Heather flowers. It was a magical moment for me, I’d known of this spider for a number of years and had never seen one on the heaths before.

A photo of a bright pink spider with yellow markings.

Heather Spider (credit: Ben Williams)

To think that we have such seemingly exotic-looking species living right here is just wonderous and to think that there are so many creatures yet to see is exciting.

Thames Basin Heaths Partnership


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