Following up on Arachnophobia, I’m sorry to say that the rare spider found on Blackheath story was definitely a bit of a red herring. I contacted GreenScene (part of Lewisham council), and got a very helpful reply from the aptly named Nick Pond:
I have enquired with a local entomologist who responded regarding your
“I think the Blackheath where the spider is found is one near Guildford
in Surrey, not Lewisham. The spider is only known from a handful of
sites in Surrey and maybe neighbouring counties.”
There have been no in-depth entomological studies on Blackheath to my
knowledge and I would be very surprised if this occurrence did refer to
Blackheath, Lewisham. I am sorry I can’t furnish you with more positive
Certain spider-fearing commentators might be delighted at this news. It seems that even if we don’t have any rare spiders, there are plenty of stag beetles, and to this end, Andrew Brown pointed out that the local council has an action plan to ensure that they continue to scare small children.
Making sure that the pupae have a suitable habitat to grow up in seems to be the most important thing – they need dead wood that has been left sitting around – known as a “loggery“, as they gradually eat the wood inside old tree stumps etc.
So if you want to look after your local stag beetle, you now have a perfect excuse for not tidying up the garden…
Photo by flickr user e3000 (Creative Commons licensed)