The Water Spider, (Argyroneta aquatica), lives underwater, where it builds a bell-shaped home of silk and fills this structure with air that it carries down from the surface. It is common in ponds and lakes of temperate Europe and Asia. The diving bell spider or water spider is the only species of spider known to live almost entirely under water. It is the only member of the genus Argyroneta. When out of the water, the spider ranges in colour from mid to dark brown, although the hairs on the abdomen give it a dark grey, velvet-like appearance.
In Australia, one type of Water spider frequents fresh or brackish water, running across the surface, feeding on floating insects. If they break the surface and fall in, air trapped in the hairs on the abdomen allows them to breathe underwater.
The female makes a “nursery” shelter for her egg sac. In the picture, a female water spider of the family Argyronetidae tends its egg cocoon while underwater in a freshwater pond.
Water spiders use silk to house their eggs while underwater.
The Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes australianus) when grown to its full size is about the size of 50 cent piece. Its leg diameter can be from that of a pin to a matchstick. It has as mottled dark abdomen and its head has as silver or dark gold
Its habitat is on creek banks and streams and it hunts on water. It is most commonly found in summer and there are many species Australia-wide.
It builds no web as it is a rover but the female builds a nursery retreat for her egg sac. If bitten, you will experience mild local pain.
Giant Water Spider information from Queensland Museum site.
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