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Amazing Spider

Author Graeme Lyons

Pellenes tripunctatus / Graeme Lyons
Pellenes tripunctatus / Graeme Lyons

We had a great trip around Rye Harbour with Barry Yates looking at the birds, but with the rain was coming down, any chance of entomology with Chris Bentley seemed slim. We were hoping to see Pellenes tripunctatus, a jumping spider Chris had found on the nature reserve for the first time last year. Then as we were about to finish up, the sun came out and we decided to have one last try for Pellenes.

And there it was! I spotted the first one, squealing like an idiot (it's all on tape so you can hear it). Pellenes tripunctatus. An RDB1 species, the only member in the genus and what has to be the most striking spider I have ever seen. It's pretty big for a jumper, not quite as big as Marpissa muscosa but big enough and colourful in a Sin City kind of way. It was very active, regularly crawling under the stones only to peep out at us again a few seconds later with its red-bordered eyes. We found another two males and spent plenty of time photographing them. Even Michael Blencowe, with his arachnophobia, was quite taken with them.

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You will be able to hear the excitement for yourself on the next episode of The Natural History of Sussex podcast out soon.

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