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.
A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson.
This is my favourite field guide to Australian spiders. It has a proper index. It has amazing photographs. If I had to find a weak point of it, it would be that there are so many photos that there is less writing than there could have been. I like photos though so it's all good. 464 pages.
From the publisher, "A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia uses photographs of live animals to enable identification of commonly encountered spiders to the family level and, in some cases, to genus and species. Featuring over 1300 colour photographs, it is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published. With more than two-thirds of Australian spiders yet to be scientifically described, this book sets the scene for future explorations of our extraordinary Australian fauna."
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