A LARGE, rare spider has been recorded living in Victorian tombs in one of the UK’s most famous cemeteries, conservationists have revealed.
The discovery of the orb weaver spider Meta bourneti in Highgate Cemetery, the burial place of philosopher Karl Marx, poet Christina Rossetti and novelist George Eliot among others, is the first time the species has been recorded in London.
London Wildlife Trust found the population of the spider, which measures more than 30mm including its leg span, in the vaults of the Egyptian Avenue at the cemetery while conducting a bat survey.
Due to its origins as a cave-dwelling spider, the species requires total darkness, with even night-time outside light too bright for it.
The sealed vaults, which have not been opened for several years, provide the perfect home for the spider, which also requires a constant temperature and damp conditions.