Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fishing Spiders (dolomedes)

Until I saw a spider so large that at first I mistook it for a mouse I had no idea they existed in Maine. I saw my first one on a concrete alewife trap. It ran across in front of me then did a four foot swan dive right into the water! As I looked over the edge I realized not only did it dive off into the water it also went under the water and was hiding on a rock … under water! That is when I started taking pictures of these awesome creatures. I got a shot of it under water and a few of it coming out of the water and up the wall towards me. I went back several times to try and find that spider. I have not yet seen the giant one but I have found several smaller (but big) ones. I did a little (very little) research to find that these spiders along with insects will also catch fish and tadpoles! The first image here shows the size of one of the “small” ones. If you look close you can see a water skimmer on the left and use it for scale. I thought the shadow was wild so I took a bunch of shots this was a favorite  


In this shot I was watching as the spider used its pedipalps (I had to look that up) to actually bait minnows by gently tapping the water but not breaking surface tension.  

A closer image ... yes it is creepy getting close

This is the first shot taken while the spider was under water. You can see the bubble of air that wraps around it as it goes under. By the way having a RAW file saved this image as the JPG the camera made was blown.

This was an unexpected treat the last time I went. I turned around to find a large snapping turtle getting a breath of air.

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