Is Eresus the cutest spider on earth? Send me to find out.

The worlds’s cutest spider. It’s a hard-fought contest, with the jumping spiders invariably on the podium. But I’ve got a soft spot for another family altogether, the eresids or Velvet Spiders. I think they’ve been unfairly overlooked and I’m going to see if I can redress the balance.

The UK’s only eresid is the Ladybird Spider Eresus sandaliatus, of which I have written before. I’ve never seen one, and there’s a chance I shan’t ever do so as it’s fearsomely rare in this country.

Eresus sandaliatus
Eresus sandaliatus

But hold on, there might be hope – both for the spiders and me. There’s now a Buglife campaign to increase the tiny population of this delightful, but very rare, animal. I recently found out that Buglife give an unusual promise “For donations over £1000 we can arrange a visit to a site for you to see the Ladybird spider in its natural habitat and experience this important conservation project first hand” So I’m starting a campaign to donate £1000 to Buglife for this wonderful spider. All donations gratefully received, if we get to £1000 I shall write, photograph and blog the visit ad nauseum. It might take a while but I intend to get there!

So what about these cute eresids then? One ladybird spider isn’t all they have to offer. No indeed. Elsewhere in Europe there are other charming little velvety creatures, all pretty rare. Here’s a gorgeous one from Ukraine.

Eresus, Ukraine

Alas, I don’t know the photographer or the species involved. But here’s a studio portrait of the same little charmer:

Eresus, Ukraine

How can these not be the cutest ever? So come along. Dig deep for the spiders – if we make it to £1000 I will make sure you get to see an even cuter, and entirely British, eresid!

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