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Terrifying spider not extinct in England after all

Illustration for article titled Terrifying spider not extinct in England after all

English readers will be horrified to know that the Rosser's sac spider still lives amongst them. Thought to be extinct in England, the spider was recently spotted, alive, well, and probably plotting evil.

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For the most part, the extinction of species through destruction of habitat is a sad thing. Well-reasoned environmental papers, impassioned public pleas, and strangely upbeat Joni Mitchell songs have been written about the subject. The dark cloud of human environmental destruction has a tiny silver lining in that every now and then it destroys something awful.

The Rosser's sac spider, and tiny, light-brown horror that could be creeping up your sleeve right now, was spotted in the English wetlands in Suffolk in the 1950s. Reacting sensibly, the English government drained the wetlands to make farmland and the spider was never heard from again. That is, until a gentleman named Ian Dawson spotted one in Cambridgeshire in September and ten more in October.

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The Rosser's sac spider generally is hard to spot, because it doesn't put up webs. Instead it sleeps in leaves and hunts by 'creeping up' on prey. It is confined to wetlands, and since wetlands are vulnerable to drought, industrial pollution, and drainage, the Rosser's sac spider is globally endangered. Io9 exhorts British readers to descend upon the small fragments of English wetland with rolled up newspapers and souls of tempered steel. With just a little work, the Rosser's sac spider can be truly extinct in your fair land. Keep calm and crush on.

Via the BBC.

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DISCUSSION

christian-lindfors-old
Christian Lindfors

Sac spiders belong in the group of Clubionidae.

Their body size varies between 4 to 16 mm. They are especially nocturnal.

Their poison is pretty strong, It's cytotoxic. This means that within 24 hours the bitten spot becomes inflamed and swollen. After a couple of days the spot will burst open and start ulcerating. The infected wound would heal very slowly and often a second infection is very likely. Depending on the species the bite can be accompanied by fevers, malaise and heavy headaches.

Due to the fact that these spiders wander at night, they often encounter people and walk across them. Because of their aggressive nature they will bite at the slightest provocation. Bites, which are painless, are mostly found on hands, neck and face and can be recognized by two small puncture wounds about 6 mm. from each other