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spider Cave Spiders

Identify It >   Spiders Section >   Cave Spiders >

Scientific name:  Meta menardi and Meta bourneti

Size:  Head and body 10 to 15mm long

Distribution:  Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Found in sites with no daylight such as cellars, caves and long tunnels

Food:  woodlice, flies and other small insects

Special features:  There are two large brown coloured cave spiders found in the U.K.; Meta menardi and Meta bourneti.  The two can only be distinguished by examining them with a strong magnifier.

They are amongst the largest spiders found in the U.K. Both species live in total darkness, so although they are not rare, they often go unnoticed.

The female cave spiders produce teardrop-shaped eggsacs, which hang suspended on a silk thread from the roof of their dwelling.

When the spiderlings first emerge they are attracted to light, unlike the adults which are strongly repelled by light.  This helps the spiderlings find new areas to colonise.

Recent Sightings

2011 - Thurnham, Kent - Mark Capeling
2012 - Eltham, S.E. London - Les Goodrich
2012 - Ashfield cum Thorpe, Suffolk - Stuart Hazlewood
2013 - Boleigh fogou near Lamorna Cove in Cornwall - Phil Holt
2014 - Walderslade, Kent - Steven Ware (photo)
2014 - Dover Castle, Kent - Stuart Brown (photo)
2015 - Appleby Castle, Cumbria - Matt Brooks (photo)
2015 - Crantock Beach, Newquay, Cornwall - Matt Howeson (photo)
2017 - Hittisleigh, Devon - Madeleine McDonald (photo)

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