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Our role in spider conservation

As the UK’s only body devoted exclusively to the study of arachnids, and as a charity with no commercial or political interests, the BAS is able to provide balanced and impartial information and expert advice on the ecology and biology of all British arachnids. With the increasing threats to all invertebrates, and arachnids in particular, we are actively involved in scientific aspects of arachnid conservation. Our information and advice inform policy and decision makers in Government and the NGOs as well as conservation practitioners, private interests and the public.

The Society’s Conservation Officer (a volunteer post) chairs our conservation sub-committee, which provides support and expert advice on all matters relating to arachnid conservation. The committee works closely with other national and local conservation organisations and develops and implements conservation policy and action on behalf of the Society. It is involved in the assessment of species status through the national Biodiversity Framework process (formerly the Biological Action Plannning (BAP) process) and Red Listing processes and is developing volunteer research programmes to underpin Action Plans for the conservation of many of our rarest species. This work, together with the wealth of data on the distribution and status of Britain’s spiders held on the Spider Recording Scheme (SRS) database, enables us to provide authoritative advice on all aspects of the conservation and protection of our rarest species. Increasingly, it also contributes to our understanding of how best to manage a wide range of habitats to promote spider biodiversity.

The BAS is an entirely volunteer organisation – our surveys and research, and the collation, analysis and interpretation of data, that underpin arachnid conservation in the UK all result from the dedication, hard work and expertise of our members. Click here to find out more about how you can support this work.

Our rarest species - we're still working on this section. Please visit again.

Numerous lists of conservation status have been produced in recent years: Red Lists, Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Lists, species listed on European Directives, species listed on the Schedules of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, and lists of nationally rare and scarce species. There is considerable overlap between the lists - a summary of designations, by species is published by JNCC. The application of different designations to spiders in Britain is explained below.

Species protected by Law

Only two British spiders are fully protected by law. Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended for England and Wales and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 give full protection to the Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius) and the Ladybird Spider (Eresus sandaliatus). This means that neither they nor their habitat can be disturbed in any way although there are provisions for conservation, conservation science and education to be carried out under licence.

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