Conquering Fears

I don´t like spiders, in fact I am highly arachnophobic, and thus this has been very difficult for me. However, I have managed to take and edit and post some photos of a most beautiful, as spiders go, species of the cause of my irrational fear.

This spider was spotted by my mate, Stef, who was visiting, near Navas de Estena in the Cabañeros National Park. A stunning example of a spider, the Ladybird Spider (Eresus kollari) with it´s blood red abdomen and four black spots and black and white striped legs is a rare species. In the UK it was thought to be extinct but now after a re-introduction programme from captive breeding numbers in the 50m square patch in Dorset have grown from 59 to over a 1000. It is also found only in a small patch in Germany, but somewhat more common in the rest of Europe.

It spends most of it´s time underground in tubes and eats large insects and beetles caught in a web with a trip wire. The males come out above ground for about two weeks in May, i.e. now, to find females and breed. The female then lays eggs and when they hatch the young eat the female so she only breeds once. They then reach maturity in 3-4 years.

Whilst fascinated by this rare and beautiful species, I am going to have to stop writing now, and think about some less spidery things. I´m getting shivers down my back even though it´s 29 degrees celcius here…

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