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News Clippings

Monday 14 August 1995 (Snippet from the Daily Telegraph)

Beauty and some not so lovely beasties invade tropical Britain
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Spiders:A black and brown spider, Steatoda noblis, that has repeatedly over the past century been introduced from the Canary Islands with bananas is likely to thrive in these warmer conditions, said Ian Burgess, deputy director of the Medical Entomology Centre in Cambridge.

"Generally speaking they are only found around buildings where they can stay relatively warm in the winter." But the spider has bred successfully in Britain in recent years.

Another newcomer that is spreading is the Wasp Spider, Argiope bruennichi, so named for its yellow stripes. The creature has become established along the coast from Dorset to Sussex, after moving in from the south of France, said Paul Hillyard, the NHM's spider expert. "They are quite a nice addition to our fauna," he added.

Scorpions: The southern European scorpion, Euscorpius flavicaudis, probably arrived in imported food and is now making a home in southern England. British colonies occur in the most unlikely places, ranging from Ongar Underground station to Pinner, Colchester, Harwich, greenhouses across north London and Sheerness in Kent, where there is a colony of 1,000.

The warmer the weather, the more males seek sex and the more offspring that survive. The brown-yellow creature grows to about one inch, but it is unlikely to deliver much of a sting, said Mr Burgess. "It is a delicate, fragile little beastie."

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