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spider Water Spiders

Identify It >   Spiders Section >   Water Spiders >

Scientific name:  Argyroneta aquatica

Size:  Head and body up to 15mm long

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Still or slow-moving freshwater with plenty of vegetation

Food:  Mostly small aquatic insects

Special features:  Water spiders are the only spiders living underwater almost all of their lives.  They construct a silk diving bell amongst aquatic vegetation, and fill it with air by dragging small bubbles down from the water surface.  Once completed, the spider can stay inside it for up to a day.  The spiders live, breathe, feed and mate inside the bell.  They only come onto land to moult or to find new territories.  The young are even born underwater inside the bell.

On land the water spiders have dark grey coloured abdomens.  They could be confused with some other species, but unlike other spiders, if you place them on water they will quickly dive below the surface.  Once underwater, the spiders take on a silvery sheen as air becomes trapped between the hairs on their bodies.

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