Current Issue
April 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

Rare Spider Hides Out in London Cemetery Vaults for 150 Years

Around 100 spiders turned up in the tombs, some of which date back to the 1830s

Meta mendari, a close relative of the tomb-dwelling species found in London. Photo: Nick’s Spiders

A rare species of orb weaver spider, Meta bourneti, turned up in the vaults of London’s Highgate Cemetery where it may have been lying low for the past 150 years.

As an orb weaver, the species requires total darkness, so archeologists think the tombs made a perfect hideout for the spider, which normally lives in caves and feasts upon small insects and woodlice. According to the BBC, this is the first time M. bourneti has been recorded in London.

Around 100 spiders, measuring about 30 mm, turned up in the tombs, some of which date back to the 1830s.  The discovery shows just how important urban cemeteries can be for providing refuges for wildlife, the London Wildlife Trust told the BBC.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Urbanization Is Supersizing Spiders 
Spider Builds Fake Spider Decoy 

Tags

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus