Friday, June 23, 2006

Humid Huntress


p
a
tience










This fishing spider lives in my 750 gallon circular aquaculture tank behind the shed which houses my surfboard, fishing poles, dive gear and other assorted wetsport stuff. She is a kindred spirit as she is a diver and a fish catcher...don't know about the surfing part.

A moment after I took this shot, she was gone...as in, blink...where'd she go? It was one of the faster animal movements that I've never seen.

A closer inspection revealed her clinging to the side of the metal tank about 16 inches beneath the surface. She's an ambush predator and the school of gambusia minnows that live in the now dormant aquaculture tank are her targets. I don't know how long one of these fishing spiders can stay underwater, but it's pretty respectable. I know she outlasted me, as I tried to wait around for another shot, but she was too busy playing Sea Hunt to return to the surface.

I'm not sure how often she catches a minnow as they are randy little fish and are constantly reproducing. Still, she is big, and there's a recent molt hanging from the edge of the tank (not in photo) so she's growing which means she must be catching some of them.

Just another example of "if you build it, they will come". This tank now hosts water boatmen, water scorpions, this fishing spider, and dragonfly larvae. Those are all volunteers who flew, crawled, and crept to this artificial "pond".

I suppose my catfish will be hiking up from the real pond soon as it continues to shrink. Posted by Picasa

16 comments:

threecollie said...

Isn't it wonderful how nature fills a vaccuum! We were amazed at what came to our garden pond too...especially all the frogs. Who knew that they traveled so far overland to find a new puddle of water. Now a garter snake has found them though.They are all huddled in the middle with looks of horror on their faces. Guess we will have to take him for a walk down below the road.
I assume you put the gambusia in though?

Floridacracker said...

I'm laughing at the mental picture of huddled frogs with looks of horror on their faces.

Floridacracker said...

Oh, and yes the gambusia, crawfish, and snails were added by me. The gambusia keep the mosquito population down.

swamp4me said...

Beautiful spider! I freaked my 8th graders out one day by bringing a fishing spider to class and letting them observe it walking on water -- bet those kids still remember what surface tension is :)

Floridacracker said...

That is the teachable moment orchestrated by a master teacher.

Zebigleb said...

Nice blog and nice pictures

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Wow...do you think I might have a fishing spider lurking around in my water garden pond? I'll never stick my hands in the water again. How big are they, exactly?

I am so afraid of spiders...But you say they keep the mosquito larva in check...ok...if it's there it can stay.

robin andrea said...

That's a great looking spider. I've never seen one quite that before. Cool new pond. I sure hope you get some reasonable rain soon.

Floridacracker said...

Zebigleb,
Welcome! Thanks for the kind words.

Abandoned,
I think they're legspread must be about 3-4 inches at least. It's the minnows that eat the mosquito larvae not the spider, she likes minnow :)

Robin,
It's actually rumbly and dark out there right now.

Mrs. S said...

Yay!! You're back!!

And I'll even forgive you for the yucky spider picture *shudder* if you post a picture of yourself surfing and do a surfing post.

See? See how reasonable I can be? ;)

Ava said...

Wow. I've never seen a fishing spider before. Very interesting. She must be a large spider if she's able to catch a minnow.

How is your shrinking pond doing??? That is so sad!!

Ava

Zanne said...

Did I mention I hate spiders? That's OK because at least this was informative. .....and you are totally saved because you mentioned SEA HUNT.

Oh gosh, for those of you 'younguns who don't remember the show, click on the link. Be sure to listen to the theme music - very dramatic. I never cared much for Sky King, but Mike Nelson - yeah!

roger said...

i want a fishing spider in our pond. we put goldfish in it three years ago. the frogs and various bugs got there on their own.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. S,
I get to surf so rarely these days that it would probably be a picture of me falling down. I could substitute a photo of my big brother...he lives to surf and can rip up a wave better than the young surfer dudes.

Ava,
The fish and I are worried, but we are not evacuating the pond yet. There's a promise of rain...we've got our fins crossed :)

Zanne,
Mike Nelson rules!

dpr,
seeds are one thing, but i'm not grabbing a spider to send you.

Wayne said...

Here I am catching up on my favorite blogs.

Ain't she a sweet big baby though! I was just pulling out the cart from underneath the house yesterday and there was her virtual twin, clinging to the cellar door inside. I've heard they will go far afield from water sources but was surprised to see this one under the house.

Companionship is a greatly valued thing.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne,
This one is a hundred yards from the real pond, which I assume was her original location.

If you saw my first comment to you, I misread your comment and after rereading now,it made perfect sense...weird.
Sorry about that Chief.