This is a cool spider that I often find while exploring the edges of ponds and canals. It is easy to identify because of their distinctive pattern of two white stripes on their front section and 12 white spots on their abdomen. They are named for the six black spots on their underside.
This species is active in the daytime and waits patiently for hours at a time for prey to come by. Not only can it walk on water, but it can also dive several inches underwater to catch food, which consists mostly of insects, small fish and tadpoles.
These creatures can walk on water using the properties of surface tension and by spreading their body weight equally where each of their eight legs contacts the water. This arachnid can stay submerged under the water for 30 minutes or more. The hairs on their bodies trap air and provide a protective “diving suit.”
Spider legs have delicate hairs called trichobothria that respond to vibrations carried through either the air or the water. These hairs provide information to the spider about the presence and location of prey. Six-spotted Fishing Spiders also have excellent eyesight.
This species belongs to a group known as Nursery Web Spiders. A female will lay her eggs and wrap them in a silken sac. She will carry this sac around in her jaws for protection until the eggs are ready to hatch. Then she builds a nursery tent with silk which she guards to protect her spiderlings against attackers.
The Six-spotted Fishing Spider is a truly fascinating creature that often goes about its life unnoticed.