Three new spider species found in Northern Ireland
Tree Comb-foot spider
IF you go down to the woods today, you may have a surprise - of the arachnid variety.
That's because three new varieties of spider have been discovered in Northern Ireland.
They are the Arcane tongue spider (Centromerus arcanus), Tree Comb-foot spider (Anelosimus vittatus) and Tree H-weaver (Episinus maculipes) - and the leggy trio will now be added to the list of 292 spider species known to exist here.
The discoveries were made during surveys carried out by the wildlife charity Buglife.
Buglife NI manager Adam Mantel said: "These exciting finds show how there is so much more to discover about Northern Ireland's wildlife. Our protected sites are vitally important for the conservation of invertebrates, our surveys are helping to manage them in the right way to conserve their wildlife riches"
A tiny money spider, the Arcane tongue was found at Breen Wood near Ballycastle, while at Rostrevor Wood in Co Down the Tree Comb-foot spider was found for the first time on shrubs in forest rides, as well as the rare Tree H-weaver.
The record of the latter species appears to be the most northerly in Europe. This type of spider is noted for its unique way of catching food. At night it spins an H-shaped web in low vegetation in which it hangs upside down to catch prey passing beneath.
Buglife is working with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and others to protect our invertebrates.