Wasp spiders in Britain

Wasp spiders ( Argiope bruennichi) are originally from Continental Europe andeprobably arrived in Britain from a Channel port in the 1920s. Since then they have been gradually spreading their domain across the south of England, reaching Cornwall and encircling London. The amorous practices of these spiders are interesting. The male waits on the threshold of the female’s web until she has shed her skin to become mature. He then takes advantage of the fact that the female’s jaws are soft to mate with her in safety. Many males, however, in their impatience misjudge things and are eaten while engaged in the act. Note, despite its threatening colouration this is not a dangerous species. The wasp-like appearance is probably to deter predators. In the very unlikely event of a bite the effects are likely to be mild swelling and itching at the site of the bite.

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