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New spider species discovered in Brussels

09:51 02/07/2024

A new spider species that has not previously been found in Belgium has been discovered along the Brussels ring road, according to Natuurpunt.

It is thought that the spider might have hitchhiked via a lorry or a car coming from the south of Europe, where the nurscia albomaculata species normally lives.

The little spider is less than a centimetre long with a few white dots on its abdomen and was first spotted in Belgium back in 2020, in a soil trap in a roadside near the Sint-Stevens-Woluwe interchange.

But the find could only be announced now because of its recent publication in a scientific journal.

“Almost every week we encounter a new species in our country,” said Jorg Lambrechts, head of study projects at Natuurpunt, explaining that the discovery was not necessarily a surprise.

“The last newly catalogued spider in our latitudes was about a year ago.”

Finding this spider is viewed by many as proof that the Roads and Traffic Agency's ecological verge management along the verges of the Brussels ring road is producing results.

Timely mowing and the removal the grass clippings, among other things, allows the soil to become more open and more flowers to grow, attracting a variety of insects.

Spiders are also clearly doing well there: the 2020 survey found a total of 95 spider species apart from nurscia albomaculata, including some endangered and rare species.

Photo: Lucarelli/Wikimedia. Licensed under Creative Commons

Written by Helen Lyons