Wed 12/10/16

Large ranunculus moth Polymixis flavicincta
Large ranunculus moth Polymixis flavicincta

A bit of a cool and miserable day, and my peregrinations around the outside of the warehouse had yielded little, when I ran into this moth on one of the old prefab huts round the back. I believe this is the large ranunculus, which according to my book, is “well-distributed and fairly frequent in England south of a line from the Severn to the Wash, except in Hampshire and Kent, where very local.” Well I’m in Kent, but I suspect the numbers have picked up in this region, as it’s totally impossible to keep a printed field guide up to date. This guide also says that the toadflax brocade and the Jersey tiger are next to unknown in this county, but we’re tripping over them all over the place. Anyway, nice moth, and a new one for me at least.

Another sighting was this pair of false widow spiders (right and overleaf.) I’m not sure exactly what this is all about; they are both fairly small, and I can’t really tell the gender while they are both curled up like this, but they seem almost identical in shape and size, which probably means they are also the same gender. The unusual thing of course, is that one is black and one is red. I asked Chris at Rye Harbour about them, and he said:

A strange pair of false widow spiders
A strange pair of false widow spiders

"That’s interesting. One of them (the paler one) is a male (you can see the palps in the side view) and it could be that he’s hanging around waiting for the other one to moult into an adult female. A few species do this. Might be nothing to do with this but it seems unusual for two spiders to hang together! Not sure why the male is so much paler though it might be he’s recently moulted too and hasn’t hardened up completely."

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