Raft spi­der uses the sur­face as a net

Science Illustrated - - NATURE/ HUNTING -

With a leg span of up to 10 cm, a raft spi­der can scare most peo­ple. The spi­der, which is one of the largest in Den­mark mea­sured by body weight, can often be ob­served on a lakeshore with its front legs rest­ing on the wa­ter sur­face, while the hind legs stick to the plants on the shore. The wa­ter sur­face is used as a type of re­place­ment for a real web. If a small crea­ture falls into the wa­ter from above or ap­proaches the sur­face from be­low, per­haps pen­e­trat­ing it, the raft spi­der’s sen­si­tive front legs will im­me­di­ately feel the slight vi­bra­tions of the wa­ter.

In spite of its size, a raft spi­der can walk, or rather run, on the wa­ter, as it speeds for­wards to catch the prey, which might be as large as a stick­le­back or another small fish. The ag­ile hunter gives its vic­tim a lethal toxic in­jec­tion, bring­ing it back to the shore, where it sucks all nour­ish­ment out of it.

The raft spi­der makes a rush at the vic­tim, as soon as it feels any wa­ter sur­face vi­bra­tions.

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