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|Wednesday, June 20, 2001, updated at 13:58(GMT+8)|
Rare Spiders Found in EnglandUnderground work on telephone lines near Windsor Castle, British Royal Residence, has uncovered nests of rare and possibly dangerous spiders, an entomologist said Tuesday.
The rusty red and black spiders could be a previously unrecorded species or one believed extinct in England for thousands of years, said Graham Smith, an entomologist with Project-ARK, a conservation team specializing in endangered species.
``The species is certainly venomous and the jaws are strong enough to penetrate the human skin. It will take a few days to work out how dangerous they are,'' said Smith.
``Who knows how long these spiders have been in the royal park because they live underground. There could be literally thousands and thousands of them. It would be no surprise if they are living underneath Windsor Castle itself.''
The spiders, which have a leg-span of up to 3.5 inches, were discovered last week by British Telecom engineers as they laid underground cables at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, near the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, 30 miles west of London.
The engineers have since stopped work while entomologists examine the spiders in an attempt to specifically identify them.
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