Mastigusa macrophthalma (Kulczynski, 1897)
A very rare spider (RDB3) which nationally, now appears to be restricted to Charnwood Forest and Donnington Park in Leicestershire and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire (per Spider and Harvestman Recording Scheme). Traditionally, it has a strong association with the ants Lasius fuliginosus, Lasius umbratus and Lasius brunneus, which all nest in old trees and in the nests of which, Mastigusa macrophthalma has been recorded. Lasius fuliginosus is the only one of these to be recorded from Sherwood Forest, but it has not been found there since 1907 (Donisthorpe). At Sherwood Forest CP, Mastigusa macrophthalma is found within accumulations of dead wood and leaf litter, within the open stumps of long dead ancient Oaks and now appears to have no direct association with ants at all. On appearance, it appears to be a dull, unicolourous spider with few discernable markings, but the photographs below (no flash used), show that the legs can appear irridescent purple in the certain light and at certain angles.
Nottinghamshire (VC56) distribution of Mastigusa macrophthalma
The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - British Arachnological Survey (Sherwood Forest Country Park Arachnid Survey 1978-1979 Report). Denton, M.L. Green, E.J. Legg, G. Hemingway, D.G. Marsh, R.J. and Sharp, D. (2002 Arachnid survey of Birklands and Bilhaugh candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. Report to English Nature from Entotax consultancy 2003). Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. BAS Survey Team of Richard Gallon, Graeme Lyons and Tylan Berry.

You can contribute your own records to help us gain an accurate status of this species in Nottinghamshire. Send an Excel spreadsheet of your records via the 'contact us' link at the top of the homepage.

Updated January 2024

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