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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!

21 July, 2012

Heather Spider (Thomisus onustus)

This is one of the most unusual spiders I have seen! A triangular body, pink and purple in colour, with enormous legs. You would think that being such a distinctive colour it would stand out and be easy pickings for any preditor but that is far from the case. This spider is found only in southern England. They are usually on heather and so they are perectly disguised and hard to see. They can actually vary their colour from white, through yellow to various shades of pink and this one had deserted the heather for a thistle and so was, perhaps, a little more atoned to its host plant.

This is not a web builder, instead it depends on that colour match to make it invisible to small insects so that any insect coming to the flower for nectar for lunch is soon lunch for the spider. It's tough out there!
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Find out more about the Heather Spider in Dorset here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Heather%20Spider?v...