Raft spider in ripple detection posture

Raft spiders

Raft spiders use the water's surface in the way that other spiders use webs. Ripples made by insects on the water's surface are detected through the raft spider's front legs. The short, velvety, water-repelling hairs covering the body and legs then allow these large spiders to do the seemingly impossible - walk on water. They skate quickly across the surface and subdue their prey. Of the 100 or so species of raft spider, all but a very few are semi-aquatic, living in and around areas of permanent water such as marshes and ponds.

Scientific name: Dolomedes

Rank: Genus

Common names:

  • Dock spiders,
  • Fishing spiders,
  • Wharf spiders

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The Raft spiders can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Raft spiders distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Arthropods
  4. Arachnids
  5. Spiders
  6. Pisauridae
  7. Raft spiders

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