In a recent post about a day out on Littlehampton, I mentioned that we had seen some intriguing spiders on the beach. I spent some time looking up spiders on the Web in order to find out what species they were. In the end, I decided I needed professional help (no, not a psychiatrist, silly!) and so I turned to the British Arachnological Society.
I soon received a helpful and informative reply from Ian Dawson. I think the best thing is to quote Ian’s reply, as he is the expert, after all.
I suspect these were wolf spiders Pardosa sp. We have several common species and they are very much in evidence on sunny days in spring and early summer. They are active hunters and enjoy the sunshine. Later in the season the females can be seen with a buffy eggsac attached to their spinnerets and when the young spiderlings hatch they ride around on their mother’s back for a few days before dispersing.
Pardosa agricola is a wolf spider which typically lives on shingle both on the coast and along rivers, but yours could equally well be one of several species which show a wide range of habitat choice.
So there you have it: the spiders we saw were probably Pardosa agricola Wolf Spiders but could possibly belong to another species. I found pictures of this species of Wolf Spider here, and these certainly look like the ones we saw on the shingle.