Saturday, 4 June 2011

Kings Standing - Ashdown Forest

    Kings Standing is a Heathland situated in Ashdown Forest.
    It is known as one of The Eastern Clumps.
    It is between Maresfield and Hartfield on the B2188 by the
    junction of the B2026.
    Evidence of humans using this land dates back over 2000 years.
    It was used by Henry VIII to hunt Deer.


    Green Tiger Beetle
    Cicindela campestris
    Family - Carabidae 
    Order - Coleoptera 
    Very fast Beetle that chases down Spiders and Ants.
    They are all over the sandy paths.
    They take to the air to get out of your way.
    There are five species of Tiger Beetle in the UK.
    Cardinal Beetle
    You only see them when they move!
    Common Lizard
    Lacerta vivipara
    Also known as the Viviparous Lizard. The Female keeps fertilised eggs inside
    her body until they are ready to hatch. When the time is right she lays the eggs
    and immediately the young lizards hatch out.
    The smooth snake, the adder and the slow worm are also viviparous.
    Common Newt ?

    Labyrinth Spider
    Agelena labyrinthica
    Family - Agelenidae
    Genus - Agelena
    As the name suggests, these Spiders construct a network of
    tunnels with a tubular retreat main entrance which they sit in
    wait for prey to land on the extending sheet of web. They are
    found at groundlevel and higher up on gorse. The females construct
    a complex egg sac for their young at the centre of the labyrinth.
    Photo of egg sac by Gary Bradley of : HERE
    They are often found sharing their webs with others of their kind.
    There is only one UK species.
    A Female Hunting Spider - Lycosid, carrying Egg Sac.

    Agalenatea reddi
    Family - Araneidae
    Genus - Agalenatea
    Same family as the Common Garden Spider Araneus diadematus.
    Single European Species. These Spiders spin an Orb Web with a
    dense lattice of silk at the centre. They sit on a silken platform
    at the edge of the web where they wait for prey.
    I found this one (above) living over a sandy gully.

    Agalenatea reddi
    This one was living on rushes in a field on the edge
    of the Heath, behind a copse of trees. I could hear the
    loud buzzing of many bees whilst trying to focus on this
    Spider, which was swaying in the breeze. I was determind
    to get the shot so I ignored the buzzing. I got the shot
    eventually then turned around to see an ascending cloud
    of bees so I moved away slowly but surely.

    Female Stone Spider
    Family - Gnaphosidae
    Genus - Drassodes
    In her silken cell under a loan, small rock in the middle
    of the path. She looks pregnant.
    Mangora acalypha
    Family - Araneidae
    Genus - Mangora
    Single species in the UK. Spins an Orb Web.
    Nice and easy to identify by it's distinctive markings.
    Raft / Fishing Spider
    Dolomedes fimbriatus
    Family - Pisauridae
    Genus - Dolomedes
    I've been visiting a small bog / marsh at King's Standing for a
    few weeks now, I had a feeling tthat Raft Spiders were there as it
    is the perfect habitat for them. On my third visit I found this.
    I figured it was a Fishing Spider shedding so I looked some more.
    First sighting - took my breath away!
    These Spiders can catch tadpoles and small fish.
    They can run across water to catch prey and can even remain
    submerged, if threatened, for almost an hour.
    These Spiders fish for a living but when they move across
    water they look like a raft with paddles.
    Photo by C. Houghton
    Said to be the UK's biggest and most venomous Spider.
    An impressive creature.
    Said to be the largest and most venomous Spider in the UK.
    Definately my most exciting find to date. I coudn't stop
    shaking with adrenalin. Even felt a bit sick with excitement.
    There was two of them. One carrying an Egg Sac.
    They're recorded as being 22mm in length but I'd say this one
    was 30mm in length, if not more!
    They are from the same family as the Nursery Web Spider -
    Pisaura mirabilis
    Mothercare Spider
    Family - Theridiidae
    Genus - Theridion
    Living on Gorse. She was guarding a bluish Egg Sac and
    had a healthy appetite judging by the remains in her Web
    Mangora acalypha
    Family - Araneidae
    Genus - Mangora
    This Spider was living just inside a huge web that
    covered a whole gorse bush. I thought it must be
    caterpllars but it was covered in thousands of tiny
    red spider mites  - see next two photo's.

    This bursting bubble of Spiderlings was on the edge of
    a Labyrinth Spiders' Web.
    I found this Spider living in a long tube-like sac,
    under a clump of fallen moss, in the shadow of the
    roots of an upturned tree in the copse along the edge
    of the Heath. I don't know which species it is.

1 comment:

  1. Wow you've got some awesome shots there mate!