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Grandmother finds largest Wasp Spider, largest in UK, in her garden in Ashford

The unusual stripey spider found in a grandmother's garden has been identified as a female Wasp Spider, the largest in the UK.

Jackie Glendinning spoke of her surprise after finding the yellow and black arachnid when she was sweeping outside her house in Grantley Close in Ashford.

She said: "The spider was on the ivy on the wall and just came scuttling over to me.

"I thought 'well that's not your normal, run-of-the-mill spider'. I have never seen one like that before.

The spider had unusual markings on its back.
The spider had unusual markings on its back.

"I put it on the end of the broom to move it away and show my hubby and he said he had never seen one like it either.

"I don't mind it being in my garden, just as long as it doesn't come in my house. But I could never kill it.

"I wasn't really scared of it but it was definitely a bit strange looking and I wouldn't want it on me."

The spider was about 1.5inches in length, and had a fattish back with yellow and black markings, like a wasp.

It also had brown and yellow markings on its long legs.

Owen Leyshon, a nature expert from the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, identified the odd-looking arachnid as a Wasp Spider, due to the stripy yellow and black abdomen.

He said: "It is the largest spider you will come across in the UK and spins a web in long grass.

"The spider feeds on many large prey items which fall into the web like grasshoppers and crickets.

The Wasp Spider is the largest in the UK
The Wasp Spider is the largest in the UK

"The spider in the photo is a female and like so many spider species, the female is massive compared to the tiny male, which usually gets eaten by the female after mating.

"I found the first Wasp Spider for Kent in 1997 at Giggers Green, near Aldington on the banks of the Royal Military canal, but since then the species distribution has exploded and it can be found across the whole county now, especially late summer and early autumn.

"You need to look for it amongst long grass and I tend to get reports from the public when they have seen the spider at allotments when people notice the large female in the web.

"It is not a house or building spider."

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