Special features: Water spiders are a brown colour with a grey-brown abdomen. When underwater the hairy abdomen appears silver due to air caught in the hairs.
Water spiders build an underwater retreat by first creating a silk net amongst the aquatic vegetation and then filling it with air like a diving bell. They do this by trapping air in the hairs on their abdomen and then dragging the air down to the silk container.
Once the retreat has been filled with air the spider can stay inside it for up to a day. Water Spiders live almost entirely underwater, only coming onto land to moult or find new territories. Even mating and egg-laying takes place underwater.
Scientific name: Argyroneta aquatica
Size: Head and body 8 to 15mm long
Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.
Months seen: All year round
Habitat: Freshwater with little or no current and plenty of vegetation
Food: Aquatic invertebrates