'All spiders are venomous', top zoologist reveals

In spite of what we may have all believed, it has been confirmed by a top zoologist that "all spiders are venomous".

Speaking on Radio Ulster this morning, Michel Dugon, a zoologist at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway said: "All spiders are venomous.

"However, some are more medically significant than others."

Mr Dugon made the shock announcement as he spoke about the first time a false widow spider has been recorded feeding on Ireland's only native lizard.

The zootoca vivipara, or common lizard, is a protected species in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

A member of the public discovered the spider alongside the small, dead lizard in her garden in Co Dublin in 2017. It was was half covered in the false widow's silk, and the spider was seemingly feeding on it.

A spider

A spider

He added: "What we found is that the lizard was completely wrapped in the way a spider would wrap its prey. The young native lizard was half wrapped in the false widow's silk

"The lizard measured 8.5cm and weighed 0.4 grams. There was nothing left in it except the skin and the bones. The spider just fed on the flesh."

"This spider was feeding at the neck of the lizard. Spiders bite their prey around the neck for the venom to reach the central nervous system."

He said false widow spiders were all over Ireland adding they "are exceptionally good at exploiting environments where there are people in an urbanised area".