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28/10/2021

Every county in Ireland can expect influx of deadly false widow spiders

Every county in Ireland can expect influx of deadly false widow spiders

Every county in Ireland can expect influx of deadly false widow spiders

New research from NUI Galway has said every county in Ireland can expect an increased population of false widow spiders within the next 20 years.

Researchers studied the populations across the country and actually found 550 of the species in Lucan, Co Dublin, during the course of the study.

Their research is the first venom study of its kind in the world and comes 22 years after the first false widow spider was discovered in Ireland in 1999.

“We’re living in a time where we’ve got huge concerns about climate change, we’ve got insect decline and now it appears that we have this global invasive spider,” said researcher Dr John Dunbar in the Irish Times.

He said it was important to monitor the growth of the false widow here to evaluate its impact on native species and other wildlife.

A bite from a false widow can be deadly to humans and there have been a number of cases of hospitalisation in Ireland. Other spiders, like the native European giant house spider and lace web spider, are impacted by the false widow venom and can be killed.

“The fact that this spider has more highly potent venom and is more active throughout the year and can out-reproduce them as well, it’s really efficient in tackling other spiders,” Dr Dunbar said.

“There is no doubt that within the next 20 years we are going to have a significant population in every county in Ireland.”

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