In September 2008, the Manchester Museum acquired a small collection of a few spider specimens taken from the Kunashir Island, one the southern Kurile Islands, the Far East. This collection contained two males and three females of a unique and very rare species of wolf-spiders, namely, the Japanese Sandy-Beach Wolf-Spider (Lycosa inshikariana; see on the photograph).
This medium-sized wolf spider was first discovered by the Japanese researcher M. Nakamura in coastal dunes of the western side of Hokkaido Island in 1925, but had remained poorly known until 1988 when it was re-discovered and studied taxonomically by contemporary Japanese specialists on spiders. The Sandy-Beach Wolf-Spider is known to occur only on Hokkaido, Honshu and the southern Kurile islands, being restricted to coastal sands of the Sea of Japan.
The spider lives in vertical burrows of 15-30 cm deep into the sand. Burrows are situated in the vegetation zone of sandy dunes, about 15 m off the highest tidal mark. Burrow entrances are open at night, yet during the day they are closed by a kind of silk-sandy lids. Spiders mature, mate and lay their eggs in late March-April.
The Sandy-Beach Wolf-Spider is very sensitive to any human disturbances of sandy dunes and currently occurs only in best preserved areas of coastal dunes, particularly of the Kunashir Island, where the Manchester Museum’s series of specimens was collected. The species definitely needs a protection as far as its habitats concern.