Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dysdera crocata

Being called to the downstairs toilet to remove a spider, I found a species I hadn't seen before. Keying it through to family Dysderidae was very straightforward using the AIDGAP key to the families of British Families by Jones-Walters (1989), combining the six eyes with the long basal segment of the fangs (chelicerae).  The size of the male at 10 mm. and the detail of the palps led easily to Dysdera crocata.  It was difficult to photograph as I had to do a stack and it wouldn't always keep its legs still.  In addition it had to be taken through glass as I had given my word that it would not escape.  The image below was the best I could do.    

It will be released in the strawberry bed as its prey is predominantly woodlice and they are a bit of a problem there.

Those of you who are keen on identifying ground beetles may be interested that I have added a few more genus keys at  I would like to get these finished some time soon. 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Bothrideridae and Cucujidae published

A very pleasant week in north France with the family gave a little time to work on a couple more small families of beetles.  These are the families Bothrideridae (5 species) and Cucujidae (2 species).  The files on the website should enable identification of these species.  They can be found at and /cucujidae.  As usual if you find anything that needs improving, doesn't work or does work please let me know. 

Bought home a leaf of Elaeagnus macrophylla from Hardelot and was delighted at the beauty of the scales on the leaf which are a characteristic of the family.  They are like miniature flowers on the leaf.  These are the scales on the top surface.  Those on the underneath are so dense you can't make out the individual scales.

                       Elaeagnus macrophylla - scales on the upper surface of a leaf