Rare spider found at Wester Moss reserve

A rare spider has been discovered at Butterfly Conservation's Wester Moss reserve near Stirling.

The tiny bog sun-jumper spider - which has distinctive fluorescent green legs and mouthparts - has only been recorded at three other places in the UK.

Butterfly Conservation's Natural Talent apprentice, Daisy Shepperd identified the spider during a recent 'bio-blitz' event, organised jointly with Stirling Council. She said: " I was one of more than 50 people on site that weekend. We were aiming to record as many species as possible. Discovering a sun-jumper spider was a real bonus."

The sighting was confirmed by Buglife conservation assistant Chris Cathrine who said the spider can only be found in bogs that are in great condition.

Paul Kirkland, Director of Butterfly Conservation Scotland, said: "In Scotland we have lost nearly 90% of our lowland raised bogs, which has had a huge impact on the species that rely on this habitat.

Wester Moss opened earlier this year as the first UK reserve for the Large Heath butterfly. Volunteers have already spent many hours clearing scrub on the site to encourage the caterpillars food plant, Hare's-tail Cottongrass.

We are delighted with Daisy's discovery, which means the reserve is a haven for at least two rare species."

Known officially as Heliophanus dampfi, the spider was first discovered in the UK in September 1989. It is also found at Flanders and Ochtertyre Mosses, both near Stirling, and on a bog near Aberystwyth.