By Sean Moriarty
A spider expert has found three of Ireland’s rarest breeds of spiders in Killarney National Park.
Irish arachnologist (spider expert) Myles Nolan, who recently conducted a survey – revealed over 50 spider species living in the Park – and three rare species of spider were abundant.
However, he has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that none of the spiders, the Green Huntsman, the Eurasian Green Crab Spider and the Triangle Spider, are harmful and there’s no reason for anyone to fear them.
The Green Huntsman is restricted to the south-west of Ireland and prefers a combination of old woodland, preferably oak, and good quality wet grassland. It can be found in abundance locally in the oak woodlands of Cahnicaun and Glaisín na Marbh.
The Eurasian Green Crab Spider can be found on the foliage of both oak and yew trees near Derrycunnihy on the Moll’s Gap road and elsewhere.
A third species, the Triangle Spider, was found on many yew trees near Reenadinna in the Park and there are other sightings of this spider in County Cork.
“I carried out the survey from late August through to October,” Mr Nolan told the Killarney Advertiser.
“This involved collecting specimens by a number of methods including turning stones and dead wood, sifting through mosses, knocking specimens down from overhanging foliage of trees, heather and gorse, and using a sweep net to collect from grassy areas. Killarney National Park is the only place in Ireland where these spiders occur in abundance. I worked closely with the Conservation Rangers in the Park getting access to locations and they assisted with some collecting. Their knowledge was hugely helpful.”