Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Creature 155: Argyroneta aquatica

Spider with underwater houses
Argyroneta aquatica is commonly called the diving bell spider.

All spiders need to breath air, but some spiders can survive for a while underwater due to a really cool trick. Spider 'hairs' (really called setae) are hydrophobic which enables some spiders to surround themselves in a bubble of air and and swim underwater. Diving bell spiders are unique mostly because of their habit of living almost entirely under water. They construct bell shaped webs which they anchor to the floor of a stagnant body of water. This bell is full of air and serves as a home base. Diving bell spiders also carry large bubbles of air between their legs.  When oxygen levels are low they take a trip to the surface and get a refill.

Occasionally they leave their bell to catch small prey items which run into their submarine home. When males are mature they build a bell web on the side of a female's bell webs and tunnel into her home to breed. The female lays the eggs inside her bell and the offspring are born underwater.

Diving bell spiders inhabit stagnant water sources in the palaerctic region.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Cybaeidae
Genus: Argyroneta
Species: Argyroneta aquatica

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