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Rare Wood house-spider discovered on Co Antrim cliffs

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 07/10/2015

The funnel-web spider prefers the outdoors compared its relative the house spider. Photo: Mick Massie
The funnel-web spider prefers the outdoors compared its relative the house spider. Photo: Mick Massie

A rare spider has been found in Northern Ireland for the first time - but fear not, it is completely harmless.

The Wood house-spider, or malthonica silvestris, discovered on cliffs at Whitehead in Co Antrim, is a close relative of house spiders that people are complaining about bugging their homes at the moment.

However, it is normally half the size of the eight-legged creepy crawlies that send many of us into histrionics.

And unlike the typical house spider, this spider - which has only been recorded in Cork so far on the island - prefers to live in crooks and crevices in natural outdoor surroundings rather than in the warmth of your home.

One theory on the creature's movements may be that it is venturing north because of the warmer weather.

Adam Mantell, Buglife’s Northern Ireland Officer is the entomologist who found and identified the spider during a survey said: “This is a really exciting discovery.

"Not only is this the first record for Northern Ireland, but it is very rare across the rest of Ireland too.

"With two out of three of our bugs in decline and so much wildlife disappearing from our countryside, it’s brilliant to have some good news for once, and add another spider to the list of species found in Northern Ireland.”

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