The spider was a red herring

Stag Beetle

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:

Dear BB,

I have enquired with a local entomologist who responded regarding your
enquiry saying:

“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
information.

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)

6 Comments

Filed under blackheath, things to do

6 responses to “The spider was a red herring

  1. I’m sorry to hear that officers collective memories ar so short. The spiders definitely exist as any long serving member of the Blackheath Joint Working Party will be able to tell you. But perhaps they’re best left undisturbed.

  2. Kate

    See that looks so much better than a spider ;-)

  3. Pingback: links for 2008-07-10 « Someday I Will Treat You Good

  4. Kate

    I helped a stag beetle today in catford, ….it was on its back so i turned it over.

  5. If you see a beetle you may want to report it.

  6. Anonymous

    The rain has flushed out a bunch of Stag Beetles around the Hare & Billet pond. Shows the benefit of leaving the cut-down willow to age into dust, providing a habitat for the larvae. Typically, some bonehead has kicked it to pieces, dumping half into the water.

    The pond has returned to glory now the weed has been cleared and willows pollarded. After a couple of barren years there are lotsa dragonflies, a family of ducks and fish leaping for flies. The hot weather has even encouraged the wild cherry to sprout fruit for the first time in forever. But I’m sure that once the rain has cleared some thoughtful visitors will be along to rip it all down, just as anglers are already clearing out the fish.

    Half of south London can also resume partying on the Heath, leaving behind barbecue scorchmarks and mounds of litter. Isn’t it wonderful to see such respect for the environment they are enjoying ? Pity we can’t have litter wardens with as much enthusiasm for tickets as the parking Gestapo.

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