Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Look what the Boys discovered this morning: A fishing spider and it's spiderlings
I think the spider we found this morning belongs to a group of spiders called Dolomedes or as “fishing spiders”? As the name suggests, this genus of spiders is usually found on or near water, “fishing” for aquatic prey, or other creatures attracted to the water’s edge. Typical prey might include water striders, small minnows and even tadpoles. They may be found clinging to a rock, piece of wood, or vegetation, with several legs resting lightly on the water’s surface. They wait patiently, sensing the approach of prey through the movement of the water. When something comes within striking distance, they make their move, seizing their prey, and even diving below the water’s surface in pursuit.
The Ball of baby spiders that we found near the Giant Mother is called Spiderlings.
Dolomedes spiders belong the to Family Pisauridae, commonly known as the Nursery Web spiders. They are referred to as such because the females construct a spherical egg sac and carry it in their jaws (chelicerae) until close to the spiderlings’ time of hatching. Then, they place the sac inside of a nursery web of silk strands secured to vegetation, and remain on guard close by. After hatching, the young spiderlings remain in the nursery for a time, occasionally moving away from each other, but quickly reforming into a ball when disturbed. We watched the ball of spiderlings move around when we gently moved the plant it was attached to. It was fun to watch and we could not believe how many babies there were.