Dundonald’s Cave Spiders

Look at the size of that spider!

Perhaps just looking at this fabulous picture, by photographer Andy Sokell, might put you off coming to visit Dundonald Castle. However, there’s no need to worry, they don’t bite and only live in our dark, dungeon pit – you’re certainly not under any pressure to pay them a visit!

For the braver among you, or for anyone with a keen interest in Entomology or Arachnology, you’re in for a treat. Meta menardi, the cave spider, is a fairly common, but hardly-ever recorded, spider which lives almost exclusively in complete darkness, and so is scarcely seen and often thought of as very rare.

If you take a torch and look closely, you can spot spotted a tell-tale sign of Meta menardi – their characteristic egg sac suspended from the ceiling, on a stalk about 20mm long:

 

Meta menardi egg sac

 

Cave spiders are the slow-moving gentle giant of the UK spider world; with a body about 15mm long, and a awesome leg span of about 60mm (more than two inches). They are a long-jawed orb-weaving spider and are also known as the orb-weaving cave spider – the silk that they weave is also particularly long, strong and stretchy.

Their relative, the African Cave Spider, was used to create the horrifying animations for the spiders in the Harry Potter movie franchise, but we’re very fond of our own creepy friends and follow their progress closely.

Come and see us – we’ll introduce you…if you dare!

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