As the winter chill starts to set in, you've probably already seen an increase in the number of spiders creeping around your house. Avoiding the wet and cold outdoors, they are seeking shelter in the warmer climes of your living room.

However, instead of catching them and setting them free in the garden, Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) – one of our regularly supported charities – is calling all of our players to collect them.

NWT is taking part in a huge ecological research project at the University of York. This project is investigating the distribution of six large types of house spider. Of the six types, two are most prevalent, and the research team want to know why.

These types of spiders are also starting to breed together, creating ‘super spiders’ with even longer legs. And it's these types of eight-legged friends that the team are looking for. The kind of spiders that can empty a room in five seconds flat – long legs and a small body.

So, how can you take part in this great ecological project? If you do spy any long-legged creatures in your house, try to encourage the spider into a used toilet roll. Pack the tube with damp tissue and pop it in a crush proof container, for example a margarine tub.

Once your spider is all packaged up, please post it to

Dr Geoff Oxford,
Department of Biology (Area 14),
University of York,
Wentworth Way,
YO10 5DD

All material will be acknowledged and postage costs reimbursed.

Happy spider hunting everyone!

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