Giant Water Spider
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
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 Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul Zborowski.
This is a great field guide to Australian spiders. It's a toss up between this one and Spiderwatch for my second favourite spider field guide. This one is a lot different to Spiderwatch. It's got more than twice the number of pages. It's got much better photos. It comes with a soft clear plastic cover protecting the usual soft cover. On the other side of the argument, it's got no index other than an index of family names (i.e. no index of actual spider names, not their common names and not their scientific names). Which makes it hard to find things in it, if you don't know what family they are in. Also it's based on families and not individual spider species. It's still a wonderful book though.
From the publisher, "This definitive guide to the subject, written by three experts in the field, offers a window into a fascinating world. Notorious species such as the Redback and the Sydney Funnel-web sit alongside less wellknown but equally intriguing spiders such as the ant-mimics and net-casting spiders. The introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, together with peculiarities of the family within an Australian context.
The two main sections of the book deal with Trapdoor Spiders and Modern Spiders, and within each section there is a chapter on each of the 80 or so spider families that occur in Australia. Each is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the subjects, with more than 30 images per family for some of the larger groups such as the jumping spiders, and many rare images never before published. "
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