A search conducted by arachnid enthusiasts led to the rediscovery of Clubiona rosserae. Photo credit: woodleywonderworks/Creative Commons
Originally discovered in the 1950s, the Rosser's sac spider was elusive—evading even a photograph—until 10 years ago when sightings stopped completely. With its wetland habitat shrinking, researchers and enthusiasts feared that the spider may have gone extinct.
Now, a new sighting of the spider has not only provided proof of its existence, it has suggested that the population is healthier than anyone had imagined.Ian Dawson, a spider enthusiast, first spotted the brown spider in September. A further search uncovered 10 more in the same area. Dawson explained:
I was extremely surprised to find the first one and then when we went back a month later it was great to find more of them...if we've managed to find 10 of them, I think there must be quite a sizeable population of Rosser's at that particular site.
Still, worldwide, the spider is considered to be critically endangered. The biggest threat to the rare arachnid is the loss of wild wetlands. Matt Shardlow, chief executive of insect conservation charity Buglife, commented:
If we want future generations to be able to see the live animal, we will need to take great care of the tiny remaining fragments of wild wetlands in this country and reinstate large areas of lost fen.
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