Forum

Welcome to our general Forum page.  Please feel free to post a comment on any issue or topic area. If you upload a picture, it will be available for you to insert here with your post. You can send a message or ask a question about British spider identification here. If your query is about spiders from other parts of the World, please find another forum, we are unable to help. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum. Find out more and Help adding forum posts. You will find some helper toolbar buttons in the add post and post editor, as well as your most recently uploaded pictures as toolbar buttons. Click on the toolbar picture to add it to your post. IF YOU WANT HELP WITH IDENTIFICATION, PLEASE PROVIDE A FULL POSTCODE OR GRID REFERENCE AND DATE of the record in your post so that it can be added to the recording scheme.

Thu 6th February 2020 09:17 by Peter Harvey
By the way, how can you say that if you look at SRS records for Pholcus, it is absent from most of the country?? It is more or less only not recorded from mountainous areas or much of Scotland, for a species which has long been known to be highly temperature dependent to winter temperatures. It has almost certainly been moving north mainly due to climate change. You can see the extent of these changes by using the Time series maps for the species.

Like all species in almost any invertebrate group, there are some parts of the country that are not as well recorded as others, but generally the SRS situation is much better than for most invertebrate groups, as can be seen on the coverage and diversity maps.

Arachnologists have always recorded all spiders, regardless of whether they are common or rare. Spiders associated with houses and gardens do tend to be under-recorded, for the simple reason that most arachnologists do not invade other people's houses and gardens to survey for spiders.

There is an additional reason we work through Area Organisers and do not currently encourage iRecord - the main objectives of Phase 2 of the recording scheme are focussed on structured autecological data which are not recorded in iRecord. Also, as a separate issue, the current assumption that nearly all and everything can be identified from photographs means that we cannot usually even get adult season data from these records - you cannot determine that a spider is adult without clear evidence that is has an adult male palp or female epigyne structure, details rarely identifiable from a photograph.

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Wed 5th February 2020 17:42 by Peter Harvey
Notwithstanding the value of getting records for easily recognisable species from members of the public and non-specialists, it is worth bearing in mind there is a very large amount of work involved in iRecord verifiers dealing with records, and it also seems to me a bit unwise to effectively undermine or exclude a long-standing well-established system of county recorders and in our case Area Organisers, who will work with recorders in their area.
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Sun 2nd February 2020 21:54 by Gustav Clark
iRecord verification
I think recording societies for 'minor' groups look at iRecord and dismiss it as suitable for birds and butterflies but too crude for their purposes.  I would say they are wrong and that they are denying their recorders access to a valuable and flexible tool.  Spiders are not unique in being difficult to identify.  Beetles, hoverflies, fungus gnats, ants - they all rely on recorders knowing when microscopic work is absolutely required.  Inter alia i do survey for ants.  Identifying them relies on checking for hairs on the antennae, or the number of teeth on the mandibles.  if I submit a record without the required level of detail then I expect to have it rejected.  If it is critical then I am asked for a voucher specimen.  I also do millipedes and centipedes. All their records are via iRecord.  They are difficult, with all the same problems of unidentifiable juveniles, or only one sex being determinable.  One person verifies records for the whole country, and it works. There is one additional advantage we would get from using iRecord.  If you look at SRS records for Pholcus phalangioides you will see that it is absent from most of the country.  Our current recorder base does not supply records for what they see as common species.  Welcoming records from the whole biological recording community would get people used to recording spiders and help us avoid situations like this.
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