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.
Spiders of Australia: Australian Green Guides, by Terence Lindsey.
This is a smaller one at 96 pages. From the publisher, "The Australian Green Guides have been created for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The most commonly asked questions are answered with particular emphasis on fascinating behavioural insights into both common and unusual creatures.
The pages are alive with entertaining and informative text accompanied by exciting action photography."
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