10th April 2018
The Deep is excited to announce that the Desertas Wolf Spider has gone on display to the public today.
Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of this large and critically endangered spider in Deep Blue One. Found only on the Island of Desertas Grande, off the coast of Madeira, they are at threat from habitat loss through the introduction of invasive plant and animal species. With a leg span of 12cm, they are the largest in the wolf spider family.
In 2016, Bristol Zoo hatched out hundreds of baby Desertas wolf spiders following a successful mating at their site. In an attempt to bolster the ever decreasing wild populations, The Deep is helping to rear some of these spiderlings and will be part of the team to reintroduce them back onto the Island of Desertas later this year.
The Deep is currently caring for 50 spiders, 45 of which are being reared in a bio-secure unit to comply with the standards required for reintroduction. The other 5 have been reared behind the scenes for public display as a way of engaging viistors with the project and allowing them the chance to view a species that would not usually be encountered. Once mature, The Deep too, hopes to establish a self-sustaining breeding population to continue to raise awareness around this highly threatened species.
Staff from The Deep will be joining scientists in the field to undertake the delicate reintroduction process and assist in population counts and habitat management on the island. These actions are crucial to give this unique spider a greater chance of survival for the future.
You can read more about this project and what the scientists are getting up to in an exciting feature published in this months World of Animals magazine (issue 058) on sale now!