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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.
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)