Thousands of baby spiders released in British countryside

Oct 22, 2010
A female fen raft spider. Thousands of baby spiders bred in a kitchen will be released into the countryside this week in a bid to revive an endangered species, a government biodiversity agency said.

Thousands of baby spiders bred in a kitchen will be released into the British countryside this week in a bid to revive an endangered species, a government biodiversity agency said Friday.

Some 3,000 baby fen raft reared by ecologist Helen Smith will be let loose in the Castle Marshes nature reserve in Suffolk, eastern England, according to Natural England.

The fen raft spider is classed as endangered in Britain and can be found at only two sites in England and one in Wales.

The spiders are large -- the body of an adult female can be as long as 23 millimetres (0.9 inches) -- with distinctive white, cream or yellow stripes across the abdomen.

The baby were reared in individual laboratory test tubes to prevent them from attacking each other, and were hand-fed with .

Smith said raising the creatures was an "exhausting" job.

"At one stage I was up until 2:00 am, seven days a week, feeding flies to hungry young spiders in my kitchen," she said.

"I'm excited and relieved to see them making their own way in the world -- and I can finally have my kitchen back."

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

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User comments : 5

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5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
Ahh so cute...but definatly a demanding pet.
1 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
But was there enough understanding of what caused their decline? Without that, these spiders might be doomed to starve, get poisoned, heasvily predated or whatever the problem is.
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
DavirMcC: Excellent point.

Off-ish topic: Sorry for rating it low, an error i think made me think I gave you 6 stars(!), while giving one. I later discovered it was 5 groups of 6 stars each, and I just highlighted the first one.. java is a bit strange on my browser (not that anybody cares).
not rated yet Oct 23, 2010
Good science DavidMcC. Unless the adjutant the caused their decline has been moderated or adjusted for -- this scientist has wasted her time and the government the taxpayers money for nothing.
1 / 5 (8) Oct 23, 2010
Even if we would know about the exact reason of spider's decline (a many factors may be actually involved here - pesticides, fertilizers, water pollution with surfactants, etc.), we couldn't be able to remove them. Sometimes the direct preservation action (a bit desperate, I admit) may become more efficient and as such cheaper. The Helen's site is here.


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