Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Spiders in Ireland

If you hate spiders, you should go to a different post – quickly.
House Spider Tegenaria domestica malr on Floor

House Spider Tegenaria domestica male on Floor

In fact this head-on view although fairly scary in its own right (it must be really terrifying for small insects) is not easily seen normally. No, its the long view of the dark body and melee of legs that seems to set off some people. I think we all have some degree of built in aversion to spiders, which probably goes back to when we shared caves with them!  The fear is certainly quite common.
House Spider Tegenaria domestica Male in bath

House Spider Tegenaria domestica male in bath

Most spiders bite and most are venemous.  However it is unusual for spiders to bite humans and many have mouth parts too small or weak to bite us.  Also, in this part of the world, very few bites cause more than irritation.
Occasionally bites can cause a bad reaction as can happen with wasp bites or scratches from pets.
In this first post on Spiders, we’ll mainly look at some fairly common spiders in Ireland.

Let’s start with the common house spider which is quite large (to 100mm but body only up to 20 mm) and dull brown. It probably doesn’t look too appealing and can seem very dark in poor light or corners.  This spider is often seen in sinks and baths where the poor creatures find it difficult to scale the slippy ceramic walls.   It performs the useful function in the house of catching flies and other insects.  It is also responsible for many cobwebs in corners of ceilings, windows and doorways.

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus underside on Web Wicklow

Garden Spider Araneus diadematus underside on Web Wicklow

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Outside a common spider is the Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus).  This is often seen in hanging webs.

It is also brown but tends to be more strikingly marked and looks fatter than the house spider.

Females – usually the larger sex – can be  up to 20 mm in body but the legs are a bit shorter than those of the house spider.

Spider Meta segmentata male under Sedum flower head

Spider Meta segmentata male under Sedum flower head

.This shot shows the characteristic 8 legs and the spinerets at the rear of the underside.

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Quite a slimmer and ‘prettier spider is Meta segmentata.

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Spider Tetragnatha extensa on stem Inniscrone

Spider Tetragnatha extensa on stem Inniscrone

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Another slim spider is Tetragnatha extensa which is often seen ‘extensa’ing along grass stems in fields.

It can be quite hard to spot.

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Small Spider Enoplognatha ovata under leaf in garden

Small Spider Enoplognatha ovata under leaf in garden

Many spiders are difficult to see either because of their size or their skulking habits.

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Enoplongnatha ovata is bright but quite small and hides here under a leaf.

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Spider Neriene pelata female on bathroom mat

Spider Neriene pelata female on bathroom mat

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Back inside, a few other spiders can be found.

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This dark headed lady looks a bit dodgy on the bathroom floor.

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Spider Bathyphantes parvulus F perhaps Bedroom

Spider Bathyphantes parvulus F perhaps Bedroom

Spider Amaurobius similis on brush in kitchen

Spider Amaurobius similis on brush in kitchen

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Daddy-long-legs Spider on house wall

Daddy-long-legs Spider on house wall

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While this grey and quite foreign looking specimen appeared in our bedroom.

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Hunting or Jumping Spider Salticus scenicus Zebra spider perhaps in Cabin R Erne

Hunting or Jumping Spider Salticus scenicus Zebra spider perhaps in Cabin river Erne

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Next time you are using your brush on the kitchen pots, just check it…

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The garden, house walls and sheds usually hold a good number of spiders and a wide variety.

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The Daddy-long-legs spider, like its insect namesake, has long ungainly legs.

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This one has a limb missing.

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A dark, handsome and perhaps, menacing spider, was found in a cabin of a boat on the river Erne.

I think it is one of the Jumping spiders in the Salticidae family.

Money Spider Drapetisca socialis on house wall

Money Spider Drapetisca socialis on house wall

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Many spiders are called Money Spiders.  It is a term mainly used for those in the Linyphiidae family which contains mainly small spiders.

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Spider Araniella curcubitina on wood

Spider Araniella curcubitina on wood

Spider Pisaura mirabilis on garden wall

Spider Pisaura mirabilis on garden wall

There are a large number of very small spiders, many dull and unseen, but some are quite flashy.

 

Hunter spiders tend to be larger and stronger.

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They are often found in gardens.

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False Widow Spider Steatoda nobilis on outside pipes on N Dublin house

False Widow Spider Steatoda nobilis on outside pipes on N Dublin house

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Finally a spider in the news recently, often with some media hysteria, is the False Widow.  Ireland now has 3 of these spiders from the Steatoda genus that are a bit Widow like.  The one recently arrived and causing the fuss, is Steatoda nobilis or Noble False Widow.  .

The responsible information coming out is that it can bite and can cause a bit of discomfort but unless you get a bad reaction, it should be no worse than a wasp sting.

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Spiders can be difficult to identify and I am no expert.  Some need to be examined by microscope and the markings can vary quite a lot!  So if any of the labels are wrong, let me first offer the Bart Simpson defence –

I Didn’t Do It, Nobody Saw Me Do It, There’s No Way You Can Prove Anything!;

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Second, please let me know.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Spider Behaviour | Cliff'sView Blog

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