I need help identifying this spider. I'm no expert but I like to think I know a fair bit about british wildlife and I have never seen a spider like this before.
I saw this about 2 weeks ago in Shropshire half way up a rocky outcrop in a forest whilst climbing. It was about 20mm long and when I went to pick it up on a leaf it reared up onto its hind legs showing its fangs! they were about 4/5mm long! I tried to get a picture showing this but couldn't, it reminded me of the way funnelwebs act that I've seen on TV. You can see in the picture (sorry its a little blurry) the size of the mandibles in relation to its body.
Any info would be appreciated as I have tried to look online but haven't even come close to anything that looks like it.
Oh wow, that's Atypus affinis the only native mygalomorph spider in the UK. In other words it's the nearest we have to a tarantula. They're not common (though they're not very rare) and there don't seem to be any records for Shropshire. So, well done - you ought to get it recorded. Either try to find out if Shropshire has a spider recorder and let him/her know, or contact the Spider Recording Scheme and let them know - attach your photo.
(I've only seen one and it was only half grown, so I'm jealous)
This page has a contact address for the Shropshire spider group -
Hi - spiders are notoriously difficult to identify from photos but this is an exception. As jaguarondi says, it is a Purseweb spider (Atypus affinis) with those unmistakable enormous chelicerae and I can only repeat his "Oh wow" as I've never seen one apart from preserved specimens.! It's probably a male in search of a female as the females tend to stay in their burrows once they have excavated them. The purse web is a sausage like tube which extends out of the burrow and is normally covered with detritus. When a passing prey species crawls over the purse the spider rushes out of the burrow inside the purse and stabs up through the purse into the unfortunate prey with the large fangs on the end of the chelicerae, The chelicerae articulate in an "up and down" plane (like a pickaxe) rather than sideways as in all other UK spider species.
It's definitely not been recorded in Shropshire before so, if you can give me a gridref and date or at least a general location and approximate date I will make an official record.
I've only just set up my Login so I don't know how this site works but I'm surprised that it shows that "This question is Not answered" as jaguarondi has surely answered it ! I'm also hoping that my ID will show up correctly as Shropshire Spider Recorder.
Many thanks to jaguarondi for alerting me to this exciting find. Great spot and nice photo.
Cheers guys for the answer.
I saw it whilst rock climbing a crag called Pontesbury Rocks, in a forest called Oakswood I believe. Its just south of Shrewsbury, the date was 21/10/13.
Just to be clear it was at the bottom of the rockface not half way up!
Many thanks for the details of where you found it - at the bottom of the rockface makes sense.
I note the UK climbing website gives a gridref of SJ 409047 for Pontesbury Crag so I'll use that.
I'm so glad you bothered to interrupt your climbing to get a photo and share it.
By the way, I think I've just worked out that the originator of the question has to flag it as answered before it is shown as such - Doh, excuse my ignorance !
Sorry to bother you again but this spider hasn't been recorded in the entire Midlands and is generally seen in South England and some coastal areas of Wales. It is thought to be in decline nationally so your find is even more significant. Unfortunately it seems that the area where you found it is going to be subject to some "habitat restoration" which is unlikely to be sympathetic to our spider as no-one knew ir was there until you found yours.
I'm going to have a look for it (or it's friends) next Friday so that I can pinpoint it's actual location and input to the "habitat restoration" project if necessary. Are you able to give me more detail of exactly where you found it (which bit of the rocks and how you got there) ? If you could it would help a great deal and maybe save the spiders.
Also I will ensure that your find is recorded on the National Spider Recording Scheme database - do you want your name to appear in that record ? If so you could, perhaps, reply to the Shropshire Spider Group e-mail shown in a previous post so you could remain anonymous if you wish on this forum.