Image: Water Spider Illustration

Water Spider Illustration

Water spiders are arachnids like all spiders, mites and scorpions. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - spiderling - adult.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Water spiders are arachnids like all spiders, mites and scorpions. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - spiderling - adult.

Water spiders have eight very long thin legs and lots of tiny hairs all over their body. Sometimes they have prominent stripes and a speckled green pattern. Their total length with legs can exceed 12 cm.

Water spiders live near ponds, lakes and slow-running streams. They can be seen hunting on the water's surface and sometimes even under the water.

Water spiders eat insects, small fish and tadpoles.

Frogs, herons, lizards and large fish are some of the animals that like to eat water spiders.

Water spiders breathe out of the water by drawing air into special breathing tubes (called spiracles) in their bodies. In the water, air is trapped in the hairs surrounding their spiracles. Water spiders can stay under the water for about one hour.

When water spiders breed, the females build nursery webs in plants on the banks of ponds and streams . These webs are made of sheets of silk and have a tent-like structure.

These spiders can walk on water. The hairs on the tips of their legs let them tread on the water without breaking the surface tension.

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