Giant Water Spider
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Other Names: Gigantic Fishing Spider
Family: Pisauridae (Fishing spiders, including nursery web spiders and raft spiders). 17 known species in Australia, there are probably about three times that in total, including undiscovered species.
Size: Male body 10 mm, Female body 30 mm. Leg span up to 180 mm (18 cm).
Habitat: Found near creeks and ponds
References: Whyte and Anderson
About the Giant Water Spider
As their name implies, they are very good swimmers. They are one of Australia's largest spiders in terms of legspan. They are harmless to people.
Diet: Small fish, tadpoles and aquatic insects
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2758 x 3299.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2710 x 4098.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1396 x 1011.
Photo by Peter Woodard. Giant Water Spider around 15 cm across, with egg sac. Under a sandstone overhang above Swaines Creek, Ferndale Park, Chatswood West, Sydney, Australia. High Resolution 1800 x 2542.
Spiders: A Wild Australia Guide, by Patrick Honan.
96 pages. This is a smaller spider guide showing the most well known spiders and then a few more.
From the publisher, "Australia is home to more than 2000 known species of spiders - and it is estimated that four times that number actually exist in this country waiting to be discovered! Within the ranks of Australian spiders we find some of the most uniquely interesting and skilled creatures of the animal world, along with a few potentially-deadly species and even more harmless individuals with fearsome reputations. Love them or loathe them, spiders are a part of everyday life, and this Steve Parish WILD AUSTRALIA GUIDE provides an insight into the lives of some of these often-reclusive visitors to our gardens, homes and wild places. From how to identify them and where they live, to their unique skills and behaviours, this guide lets you get up close to some of the most common Australian spiders. Who knows? You may even find some of these fascinating creatures living right under your nose."
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