We made the news again for something insect related. Except its not an insect, it’s a rare spider, called the Bracken Bat Cave Meshweaver. This rare spider has not been seen in 30 years, but was found by a biologist with U.S Fish and Wildlife while inspecting the construction site for endangered or threatened species. The construction site is at Highway 151 near Weisman Road and the area has karst formations or features. Karst features are limestone outcroppings that can be caves and are usually subterranean. Karst features are known to be a home for many rare, threatened, and even endangered species of arthropods such as the Bracken Bat Cave Spider.
I know it seems silly to stop a 15 million dollar construction site after seeing just one little spider, but it goes to show that all living things have a purpose and as humans we have a responsibility to help preserve nature and the ecosystem.
While I don’t know much about the biology and benefits of this spider, it may play a very important role in the karst ecosystem. Biological magnification is always something to consider when you eliminate one species. Who knows what preys on the spider, or what it preys on and how the food web could be altered, eventually impacting humans. We may also use this little spider to learn things that could benefit us in the future. You never know and everything has a place!
by Molly Keck
Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist