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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

'Handsome chaps': Red-bellied jumping spider spotted in Ireland for the first time

Ireland’s warming climate could mean the species becomes a regular fixture in the country.

The Philaeus chrysops pictured in Monkstown.
The Philaeus chrysops pictured in Monkstown.
Image: Bill Delahunt

A RED-BELLIED JUMPING spider has been found in a Dublin garden, a sighting experts say is possibly the first of its kind in Ireland. 

It is not known how the male Philaeus chrysops, spotted in Monkstown, made its way to Ireland but it is a long way from its usual habitats in southern Europe, Korea and the US. 

Dr Michel Dugon of the Venom Systems Laboratory in NUI Galway said the spider looks very much like a mature male Philaeus Chrysops.

“I know that the species has been spotted occasionally in the UK for the past 15 years but I am not aware of any prior sighting in Ireland,” he said, adding that the spider is not mentioned on the most complete Irish species list. 

Zoology research associate at Trinity College Dublin, Collie Ennis said the species is harmless to people and “the males are rather handsome chaps” with their distinct red abdomens. 

shutterstock_522656329 Source: Shutterstock/Marco Maggesi

Ennis told the Philaeus chrysops could possibly become a permanent fixture in the country given Ireland’s warming climate. 

“Lots of invertebrates that couldn’t survive in the UK and Ireland are slowly moving up north from Europe as the habitat becomes warmer.

“Of course, this is going to be a recurring issue because as the climate of the country warms we are going to see many more new species of animals take up residence in Ireland, especially invertebrates, like spiders, who can easily travel in goods and shipping.”

He said the next step is to see if there have been any other sightings of this species and if is a viable population in the area.

“It will be interesting to see what effect this species could have on our native invertebrates,” Ennis added. 

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Adam Daly

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