New species of spider discovered in Northern Ireland

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A new species of spider has been discovered in Northern Ireland.

It is one of three new species found according to a new survey undertaken by the wildlife charity Buglife.

A tiny money spider, the Arcane tongue spider (Centromerus arcanus) was found at Breen Wood near Ballycastle.

In most of Europe it is found only amongst forest litter in mountainous areas, though in Britain and Ireland it appears to be a species of mountain summits and bogs as well.

The Arcane tongue spider (Centromerus arcanus), Tree Comb-foot Spider (Anelosimus vittatus) and Tree H-weaver (Episinus maculipes) have not previously been recorded in Northern Ireland, and will now be added to the list of 292 spider species known from the country.

Adam Mantell, Buglife Northern Ireland Manager said:“These are some exciting finds, and 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.”

At Rostrevor Wood in County Down, the Tree comb-foot spider (Anelosimus vittatus) was found for the first time on shrubs in forest rides.

Also from Rostrevor Wood was a rare spider called the Tree H-weaver (Episinus maculipes). “This species was first recorded in Britain in 1929 and has gradually been expanding its range.

This record appears to be the most northern in Europe suggesting it is doing the same on this side of the Irish channel.

Episinus spiders have a unique way of catching prey.

“At night they spin an H-shaped web in low vegetation in which they hang upside down to catch prey passing beneath.

“Our warming climate may be playing a significant role in the fates of these species. Many invertebrates have very precise requirements for temperature and humidity.”

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