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Raft Spider Andy

Raft Spider (Dolomedes Fimbriatus)

This is one of two species of Raft Spider found in Britain and is one of our largest spiders a very interesting British spider that is well worth finding for photography. I often study my subjects before taken pictures as I did with these, I found them by looking at flooded ditches on the side of footpaths in the New Forest Hampshire. Their empty skins often floating on top of the water is a sign that the spiders are close. There were many females spread out in the small ditches and small ponds all resting around the edges a few feet apart with one leg touching the water.

They can also be found on the banks of small streams resting on floating plants or logs with one leg always touching the surface of the water This acts like a web any ripples from insects trapped or swimming on the surface of the water will send the spiders skating across the top of the water in chase of its prey. They have even been known to stir the water with its front legs to attract small fish under the water. They will tackle large insects and even tadpoles and small frogs. As with all water spiders they can also escape predators by diving under the water their hairs capture air turning the spider silvery so they are able to submerge for long periods at a time. This is a very handsome British spider, females leg span up to 7-cm. When I see these spiders in the wild I cannot resist taking some photographs and then just sit quietly and watch their fascinating behaviour.