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Fishing Spider
By melvynyeo   |   Watch
141 12 3K (1 Today)
Published: November 11, 2014
© 2014 - 2019 melvynyeo
Eating a winged ant... Taken at night in Singapore.

Quote from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolomede…
Dolomedes spiders are covered all over in short, velvety hairs which are unwettable (hydrophobic). This allows them to use surface tension to stand or run on the water, like pond skaters. They can also climb beneath the water, and then air becomes trapped in the body hairs and forms a thin film over the whole surface of the body and legs, giving them the appearance of fine polished silver. Like other spiders, Dolomedes breathe with book lungs beneath their abdomens, and these open into the air film, allowing the spiders to breathe while submerged. The trapped air makes them very buoyant and if they do not hold onto a rock or a plant stem they float to the surface where they pop onto the surface film, completely dry.

Rather than hunting on land or by waiting in a web, these spiders hunt on the water surface itself, preying on mayflies, other aquatic insects, and even small fish.[2][3] For fishing spiders, the water surface serves the same function as a web does for other spiders. They extend their legs onto the surface, feeling for vibrations given off by prey.


Dolomedes are nocturnal hunters, feeding when birds, their main predators, are sleeping. The method they use to fish for insects is to hold on to the shore with their back legs while the rest of their body lies on the water, with legs stretched out. Dolomedes species tend to be robust with thickset legs that allow them to tackle prey larger than themselves. They stretch out their front legs and wait, as if listening. Their front legs feel the vibrations carried on the water, just as other spiders feel the vibrations in a web. They are able to tell what is causing the vibrations that the water is carrying - to distinguish the drawn-out, erratic vibrations of a struggling insect from the one-off vibrations caused by falling leaves or the background noise of the wind or the flow of the water around rocks and other obstacles. As well as identifying the source of the vibrations, the spiders are also able to discern the distance to and direction of the source. To this end they have a range of vibration-detecting organs, including very sensitive hairs (trichobothria) on their legs and feet. Their eyes play a secondary role - experiments on related species show that touch is the main sense these spiders use to catch their prey. Their eyes are of little use for nocturnal hunting. These vibration detectors also serve to warn the spider of predators such as trout.

As soon as the vibrations reveal that there is a floundering insect within range, some fishing spiders may take direct action - they run at pace across the surface of the water and grab the insect before it extracts itself from the water and flies to safety. Some fishing spiders use silk draglines to prevent themselves from speeding past the prey.
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Comments12
anonymous's avatar
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dolphinfairyboy's avatar
dolphinfairyboyHobbyist Photographer
wait do spiders have pupils?
Rybird's avatar
RybirdHobbyist General Artist
That is too cool! Great great photo, and awesome info!
Kroeghe's avatar
Oh wow, fearsome! A really beautiful animal.
dannypyle's avatar
dannypyleHobbyist Photographer
Great description!  It added so much more depth to the photo.
JamesRoach's avatar
JamesRoachHobbyist Writer
I count 8 eyes, 4 of which are partly conjoined.  Is that a ant abdomen being consumed?  delicious and astonishing work.   
MrMalvin37's avatar
MrMalvin37Hobbyist Photographer
Nice shot!
What is the cristal thing under the ant?
melvynyeo's avatar
That's the wing of the ant....
MrMalvin37's avatar
MrMalvin37Hobbyist Photographer
I didn't know it could have this shape.
Thanks though
CagedFeathers's avatar
I don't like most spiders, but this is a great photo ^.^
GoldenAutumnLeaf's avatar
GoldenAutumnLeafHobbyist General Artist
Awesome! Poor ant. ;-;
dalantech's avatar
dalantechHobbyist Photographer
Love the angle and the framing!

Also some really well diffused light.
anonymous's avatar
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