The miniature world of spiders and their fascinating hunting behaviour will be revealed at a workshop set to change minds about these misunderstood minibeasts.
The course is being organised by the North Pennines AONB Partnership as part of their Cold-blooded and Spineless project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project is a five-year initiative to raise awareness and encourage the recording of invertebrate life in the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark.
With around 640 species of spider in the UK, they are a significant component of a healthy ecosystem. Spiders perform a vital role in supporting agriculture, eating an estimated 400-800 million tons of insects a year. They also control biting insect populations and, in turn, are an important food source for a wide range of animals.
Genevieve Tompkins, Biodiversity Officer for the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “Spiders have faced a bad press for thousands of years but the skill and complexity of their different hunting behaviours arguably beats that of any lion or tiger. This workshop is a fantastic opportunity to get closer to your local spiders and learn to appreciate their beauty.”
The one-day course, led by local spider enthusiast and expert, Fran Garcia, will focus on the many different hunting strategies of spiders and how these relate to their body shape. This will then be used to separate the different species, allowing participants to put a name to the spiders they see. The workshop will include a trip to Bollihope Burn to search for spiders and appreciate the beauty and skill of their hunting techniques.
The workshop takes place between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 1 June at Harehope Quarry near Frosterley in Weardale. Early booking is recommended as places are limited. For more information visit the North Pennines AONB Partnership website: www.northpennines.org.uk or book directly on www.ticketsource.co.uk/northpennines – the cost of the workshop is £32.40 including booking fee.