Diving Bell Spider

The diving bell spider is the only predominantly aquatic spider species, spending its entire life underwater. It needs to breathe air like any other spider, so it uses special hairs on its legs and abdomen to trap a bubble around itself.

A. aquatica out and about - you can see the air bubble trapped around its adbomen.
A. aquatica out and about – you can see the air bubble trapped around its abdomen.

Quick Spider Facts
Latin name: Argyroneta aquatica
This species lives in freshwater ponds in Europe and northern Asia.
It is a medium-sized spider, with a body size between 8 and 15 mm. Unusually, male diving bell spiders are larger than females.
Its bite can be painful, but is not medically significant.

A. aquatica and prey inside its bubble nest.
A. aquatica and prey inside its bubble nest.

As well as their personal bubbles, these spiders build a bubble nest similar to a diving bell, from which they get their name. They build an underwater web which can be filled with air brought from the surface. Once it is large enough, the bubble is capable of osmotic oxygen and CO2 exchange with the water, and does not need to be replenished for several days.

Female spiders build larger nests which they rarely leave; they prefer to catch nearby prey. Males are more active hunters which spend more time in the water. The effort taken to produce the female’s larger web, as well as the extra strength necessary to be an effective hunter, are proposed to cause the size difference between the sexes.

A. aquatica leaving its bubble nest.
A. aquatica leaving its bubble nest.

I hope you’ll agree that these aquatic hunters are fascinating little beasts!

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Diving Bell Spider

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