‘Spider Man’ will be swinging into Jersey next month to help islanders learn to love the “misunderstood” eight-leggers.
Research superhero Lawrence Bee is hosting a talk and one-day course to help islanders identify and learn about spiders across 28 and 29 June.
The ecological consultant and educator is quite the arachnid authority, having authored the Field Studies Council Guide to House and Garden Spiders and the recently-published Britain’s Spiders – A Field Guide.
Pictured: A garden spider on its web. (Simon Robson)
On 28 June, islanders will be able to listen to a free evening talk on ‘Introducing Britain’s Spiders’, and a one-day course will be held at the National Trust Wetland Centre on the following day (29 June).
Sarah Maguire Education and Outreach Officer of the Jersey Biodiversity Centre (JBC), which keeps records of Jersey’s flora and fauna and helped organise the talks, said that Mr Bee’s sharing of his spider identification skills will be useful for future generations.
“We are excited at the prospect of learning more about spider species and their distribution. Currently we have little information on their distribution because of the difficulty of identification,” she explained.
“These tools will give us the ability to survey spiders as part of our current citizen science projects and help record more spider sightings. This data can then be used by policy makers to safeguard these natural assets for future generations.”
Pictured: The Mangora acalypha, which is most commonly known as the 'Cricket Bat' spider. (Simon Robson)
Willie Peggie, the government’s Director of Natural Environment, explained the importance of the JBC’s efforts to record the species in the island.
“The continued development of an independent biological records centre for Jersey underpins informed decision making in development and change. Natural Environment is keen to support the Jersey Biodiversity Centre through the Countryside Enhancement Scheme and to help where we can; it is doing fantastic work.
“To realistically protect our countryside and wildlife for its own benefit and for the inhabitants of Jersey we need to know what we have and where it is; and for that information to be easily available from a reliable and impartial source. We see the Jersey Biodiversity Centre as a one-stop shop for ecological data and information whether you’re a student, an ecological professional, a developer or an interested hobbyist.”
Pictured top: A bright 'wasp spider' captured on camera by Kris Bell.
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