Spiders of mobile sand dunes on the Sefton Coast in 2021, with particular reference to Rhysodromus fallax and Baryphyma maritimum


A field survey of the Vulnerable and Nationally Rare philodromid spider Rhysodromus fallax (Sundevall, 1833) and other rare sand dune spiders was undertaken between the 29th April and 24th October 2021. 127 separate sample points were surveyed along the Wirral, Sefton and Fylde coasts: from Red Rocks in the south through to Starr Hills in the north. A total of 13.5 hours of active hand grubbing and two hours of vacuum sampling was undertaken during this survey.

Rhysodromus fallax was recorded at 11 separate sample points during this survey, with 38 specimens in total. It was only found along a 2 km stretch of mobile, frontal dunes centred at Formby Point. The species was found within Ravensmeols Hills LNR and Formby, with all sites occurring within the Sefton Coast SSSI. Notes on habitat preference and potential threats are detailed.

In total 99 spider, 9 harvestmen and 1 centipede species were recorded. The Nationally Rare linyphiid Styloctetor romanus (O. P. -Cambridge, 1872) was re-recorded at Leasowe and Ainsdale & Birkdale Hills LNR. New site records for this species were made at Hightown, Cabin Hill NNR, Ravenmeols Hills LNR, Formby, Fairhaven and Starr Hills. Baryphyma maritimum (Crocker & Parker, 1970) was not re-discovered during this survey. Records of the following six Nationally Scarce spiders were also made: Argenna subnigra (O. P. -Cambridge, 1861) (new vice-county record for West Lancashire), Mecopisthes peusi Wunderlich, 1972, Parapelecopsis nemoralioides (O. P. -Cambridge, 1884), Scotina gracilipes (Blackwall, 1859), Typhochrestus digitatus (O. P. -Cambridge, 1872) and Xerolycosa miniata (C. L. Koch, 1834).

The introduced terrestrial harvestman Dicranopalpus larvatus (Canestrini, 1874) is recorded from North West Britain for the first time (new vice-county record for South Lancashire). Two bilateral gynandromorph spiders (Troxochrus scabriculus and Xysticus cristatus) are also reported.

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