Zoological Society of London reveals breeding success for rare spider species

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Desertas wolf spider and babies (Zoological Society of London)

One of the world’s most endangered spider species has experienced a breeding success at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Approximately 100 Desertas wolf spiders hatched on May 21, in what is only the second time the species has been successfully bred in captivity anywhere in the world.

The success follows two years of planning by zookeepers and conservationists at ZSL, who found a dark cellar in the zoo with the correct humidity and temperature for the spiders to breed.

Zookeeper Tyrone Capel said: “It has been fantastic to see these spiderlings hatch and, after two weeks clinging on to their mother’s back, climb off her to go their own way.

Approximately 100 Desertas wolf spiders hatched on May 21
Approximately 100 Desertas wolf spiders hatched on May 21 (Zoological Society of London)

“Best of all it means that with a healthy population here at ZSL, we can continue to contribute to vital conservation research into one of the world’s most endangered arachnids, which we hope will benefit the species in the wild.”

The large, grey spiders, native to the Desertas Grande island in Madeira, only breed once or twice in their lifetimes.

Breaking