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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

11 June, 2011

Spider (Tetragnatha extensa)

With apologies to all you arachnophobes out there here is today's wonder of the world; a spider with no common name, Tetragnatha extensa. The name 'extensa' hints at the incredible shape of this creature.

At first sight you could be forgiven for not even realising it was anything living at all! Although quite large, about 1.5" from tip of its feet to its rear end it is quite had to find as it is so thin and has colouring that makes it 'disappear' in to its background.

This is a spider that likes grassland and low vegetation, especially close to water and boggy habitats. I have seen them motionless on reed stems almost impossible to distinguish as a spider. I have also seen them in curled up nettle leaves where they can be virtually hidden but I was lucky enough to find this one doing some house work on its web and so it was out in the open.

Its shape makes it perfectly adapted for its environment; very difficult for predators to find and very difficult for its prey to spot before it is too late! A fantastic creature.