Water Spider

I here is just one species in this family -Argyroneta aqua lira. It is aptly named, since it lives more or less permanently underwater. This spider has a distinctive, dense pile of short hairs on its gray abdomen. The legs arc yellow-brown, and the third and fourth pairs have extensive tufts of longer hairs, which help to trap air. The Water Spider makes a dome-shaped "diving bell" out of a sheet of silk, which it attaches to submerged vegetation and fills with air. Bubbles of air are carried from the surface using the abdomen and hindlcgs, and the air is 'brushed" off by the legs to fill the bell. The spider stays inside the bell with its long legs hanging down below to sense passing prey. Prey items include small fish fry and tadpoles, which are dragged into the bell to be eaten.

• life Cycle After mating has taken place, the eggs are wrapped in silk and arc then placed in the top of the diving bell.

• OCCURRENCE Europe and parts of Asia. In cither slow-flowing or still water.

ARGYRONETA AQUATIC A, the European Water Spider, even spends the winter in its bell-shaped tent. It adds extra silk to reinforce the structure and stays there until spring.

layer of air trapped by body hairs and flicked

"bell" of air held in place in vegetation

0rder ARANKAK

Family c: I KNIOAK

No. of species ^qq

0 0

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