Rare spider found in Cemetery Park


Local spider expert Edward Milner writes:

At the end of October the pitfall traps just by the Soanes Centre in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park produced an adult male of the money spider Lessertia dentichelis (family Linyphiidae). This is new to Cemetery Park, and in fact the only previous record in the whole of London was in 1987 (my own record) from a site in Greenwich which was redeveloped shortly after I recorded the spider there. So really, this makes Cemetery Park the only known site for the species in London.

Lessertia dentichelis spider

Lessertia dentichelis (Cédric Alonso [CC BY-NC])

Its habitat is culverts, mines and dark places, with humidity an important factor. So actually an old graveyard isn’t a surprising place to find it – even if it has taken me 15 years to do so!

The species is nationally scarce and local, with most records from the north Midlands (see the distribution map here), though it may be under-recorded due to its specialist habitat. It is fairly widespread in Europe as far north as Sweden, and has also been found in Canary Islands, Madeira, Canada and New Zealand, though it has probably been accidentally introduced by people to many of these places.



Nigma puella spider

Nigma puella (Bernard Dupont [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Another recent addition to the Cemetery Park spider list is Nigma puella (family Dictynidae), found during the invertebrate survey day in early August. These two additional bring the Cemetery Park spider list to a very impressive 156 species.





I also have four centipede identifications from one of the (very few) centipede experts! These are Lithobius forficatus (the rather large, brown centipede that’s fairly common in urban areas), Stenotaenia linearis, Cryptops anomalans and Henia vesuviana.

Lithobius forficatus (Palica [CC BY-SA 3.0])

Henia vesuviana centipede

Henia vesuviana (Jörg Spelda [CC BY-SA 3.0])


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