Diving bell spider

Male water spider

The water spider ( Argyroneta aquatica ) or silver spider is the only spider that does not live on land, but under water. Their range extends from the British Isles in the west to Japan in the east. The animals prefer clean lakes or slow flowing waters. Since the water quality is poor in many areas by manure and pesticides from agriculture, the population is rapidly declining. She is on the red list of endangered species in the category " Endangered ".


The male spider has water almost the whole body a beige - yellow color. On the lower legs the color is rather dark. The female is brown.

Way of life

The unusual habitat for a spider, it moves into by collecting the breath required under a tightly woven network in the riparian zone. For the air Get the spider stretches her back legs and part of her abdomen from the water and dive under very jerky again. Here, she takes a bubble that has caught between the hair and legs and abdomen silvery surrounds, with down. On one of the threads signal it contracts to its air depot and wanders there, the air bubble in their " diving bell " from. In this air storage, the major part of the life of this spider plays. By diffusion of the oxygen removed from the air bladder is partially replaced.


When hunting for small aquatic creatures such as amphipods and isopods it relies on its signal threads that it has excited in the immediate vicinity of their dwelling and are related to their dwelling. If one of the threads indicates movement, the spider rushes quickly along the string and overwhelmed the prey with a venomous bite. Then she drags the prey into their shelter and eaten it there. The water spider is one of the few species of Central Europe, whose bite is very unpleasant for humans, similar to a wasp sting.


The male is only slightly larger than the female (0.8 to 1.5 cm) with 1.0 to 1.5 cm. After mating, the female eats the male not, as is often claimed, but both are still alive after some time together.


Because of their extraordinary life and the seriousness of the threat of the kind shown in the logo of Deutsche Arachnologischen society and was elected in 2000 as the first type of " Spider of the Year ".

Fossil (extinct ) members of this genus are Argyroneta antiquarian and Argyroneta longipes.


Females of the page

Courtship of two water spiders

Sketch multiple copies