THOSE terrified of creepy crawlies should stop reading now – four new species of spider have been discovered in Sussex.
Andy Phillips, the Sussex county recorder for spiders, and expert Graeme Lyons have found the creatures for the first time in the area.
Their mini census revealed types of wolf spider, money spider and crab spider and an aelotes petrensis, which does not have a generic name, that had never before been seen in Sussex.
Mr Phillips and Mr Lyons, who are both members of Sussex Wildlife Trust, carried out the study at Stedham and Iping Commons, near Midhurst, throughout the summer and autumn of last year.
In total the pair found 204 different species at the sites – the equivalent to spotting 30% of all species of spiders found in Britain.
Mr Lyons, who lives in Brighton, said he has become hooked on spiders.
The 34-year-old said: “Thanks to Andy’s help and enthusiasm I am hooked.
“The array of unusually shaped and coloured spiders that we recorded was staggering.
“The spiders of Stedham and Iping are so rich and varied compared to the species we tend to see in our homes.
“How could anybody be frightened of them?
“They are just possibly some of the most aesthetically pleasing invertebrates we have.”
He said the spiders in Sussex are not dangerous.
“They won’t give you a nip,” he laughed.
The pair carried out their census by knocking branches with sticks and using a sturdy butterfly net which trapped spiders.
Unfortunately they did not manage to photograph any of the new spiders but did picture other species which they discovered during the census including the rare jumping spider – which Mr Lyons said he liked because of its “cute eyes” – and a rare knobbly spider which devours fellow arachnids.