Aquatic spider

This is 'Spiderwoman', Helen Smith but what is she doing in a hole? She's there to show Bill Oddie some great raft spiders. This spider doesn’t actually build a raft, it just acts like one because it can float around on the water surface. They look round the edges of the pool and find one. It’s incredibly well camouflaged. Some of them just run down underwater, this is an obliging one. It's a medium sized one. It’s just denting the water where its feet touch the meniscus but it’s not breaking it. So, it can just drift around like that. They look bright silver underwater and they stay down ten minutes or so at least. They usually just sit in the edge of the vegetation to eat and sometimes a little way up. The adults will eat sticklebacks which have a much, much bigger body size than them, fully grown dragonfly larvae and even fully grown newt larvae. They are incredible predators. they build a big web called a nursery web when they’re rearing their young. Bill and Helen go to find one. The web’s huge. The female has a silk sack full of eggs which she carries around her body and she walks around on tiptoes with them for about three weeks. When they are ready to hatch she climbs up in the vegetation above the water and she builds this huge tent of webbing we call a nursery web. The babies hatch in that web and she guards them in there for about a week. There might be four or five hundred babies on one egg sac.

Release date: 14 Jun 2010

4 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterBill Oddie
Camera OperatorScott Tibbles
Camera OperatorMark Yates
ProducerVicky Webb
ProducerHugh Pearson
Executive ProducerFiona Pitcher

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