Nursery web, fishing or water spiders

Family Pisauridae

This family contains ten genera and 25 descibed species in Australia.
The genus Dolomedes is the most commonly occuring genus and most species are placed in this genus. This family of nursery web spiders is closely related to the wolf spiders (Lycosidae).
They are large spiders measuring up to 30 mm.
These spiders live nearby water. In Britain they are also called swamp spiders or fishing spider. Females can reach a length of 25 mm while the males are around 12 mm.
Dolomedes spiders have the capability to walk on the water where they put one leg in the water to attract the fish with their leg. When the fish is too close with curiosity, the spider snaps it.
Like the water spider these spiders can also stay under water for over an hour surviving on air bubbles catched between hairs around the entrance of the booklung slits. They do not hunt under water but use it as a safe place to hide.
Nursery web spider carry their egg sacs with their chelicerae unlike the Lycosidae who attach the egg-sac at their spinners.

Just before the spiderlings leave their eggs the mother weaves a tent of silk around the egg sac.
The egg sac is then partially opened by the mother who then stands guard near the nursery tent. The youngsters stay in their tent until they change their skin for the first time.


Dolomedes carrying her egg-sac gripped with her chelicera (jaws) and palps


Note the surface tension that presses the water surface down and keeps de spider floating.

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Genus Dendrolycosa

Dendrolycosa icadia
Male Dendrolycosa icadia
Hygropoda dolomedes and Dendrolycosa species are tropical pisaurids that build sheet webs on the tops of large waxy leaves. The spider rarely leaves their sheet web. The web is well camouflaged. The non-sticky web is not used for capturing prey but is mainly the area on which the spider actively hunts and is mainly used as sensory device the spider uses to locate prey. The spider only attacks prey as it moves suggesting the spider senses the movement of the web.
Dendrolycosa icadia Dendrolycosa icadia
Dendrolycosa icadia Dendrolycosa icadia
Dendrolycosa icadia
Dendrolycosa icadia  

Genus Hygropoda

 

Hygropoda dolomedes or Hygropoda dolomedes (Jurgen Otto,Townsville)

This spider constructs a thin horizontal non-sticky sheet web above waxy leaves like Dendrolycosa. The webs are usualy on one leave.


Genus Dolomedes

These large spiders live near water. They can reach a length up to 25 mm without legs. The spider catches insect, fish and even small salamanders. Their breeding care is exceptional. If a mother is separated from their eggs she will return to the spot even if carried away for 200 meters.
Normally the spider sits on vegetation at the edge of pools.
If the spider is disturbed it will flee into the eater and will hide under water between the vegetation for over an hour.
If the spiderlings emerge from their "nursery webs" they often exploit higher and dryer habitats and may be found in bushes and trees.
More here: Big wolf and nursery webspiders
Dolomedes minor from New-Zealand  
Dolomedes minor guarding her nest Dolomedes minor
Dolomedes instabilis Dolomedes instabilis
Dolomedes instabilis QLD Dolomedes instabilis QLD
Dolomedes instabilis Dolomedes instabilis
Dolomedes instabilis QLD Dolomedes instabilis QLD
Dolomedes ZZ161 Dolomedes ZZ161
Dolomedes ZZ161 walking on the water surface, Carnavon, Queensland Dolomedes ZZ161
Dolomedes ZZ495
Dolomedes ZZ288 (by Jurgen Otto,Townsville) Dolomedes ZZ495
Dolomedes ZZ495 Dolomedes ZZ495
Dolomedes ZZ495 Dolomedes ZZ495
Dolomedes ZZ321
Dolomedes ZZ321WA
Dolomedes ZZ321
Dolomedes ZZ321 WA

Dolomedes ZZ321 WA

Genus Megadolomedes


Megadolomedes australianus with a Yellow-banded Flutterer. Picture by Tony Bailey

Megadolomedes australianus female

Megadolomedes australianus Giant Water Spider

The male is 20 mm large while the female reaches lenghts of 25 mm and more. The spider can be found around still-water ponds in a irregular webbuild in the vegetation.

Pictures by Robert Whyte

 

Megadolomedes australianus female  
Megadolomedes australianus male Megadolomedes australianus male
Megadolomedes australianus male Megadolomedes australianus male
Megadolomedes australianus female Megadolomedes australianus female
Megadolomedes australianus female Megadolomedes australianus female

Genus Perenethis

Perenethis venusta
Perenethis venusta by Robert Whyte  
The common name of this spider is "Single striped grass spider".
The male and female are approximately 10 -12 mm in length.
The female carries her egg-sac with her jaws and just before they hatch the spider makes a 'nursey web' in which the young spiders hatch.
Perenethis venusta Perenethis venusta
Perenethis venusta by Jurgen Otto Perenethis venusta with egg-sac between her jaws by Jurgen Otto

 

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Ed Nieuwenhuys, 27 January 2017
3 April 2012, 20 january 2011,
28 june 2010, januari 4, 2009, march 2005, Ronald Loggen 1997

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