Vinny's picture

Raft Spiders

Observed: 25th April 2011 By: VinnyVinny’s reputation in InvertebratesVinny’s reputation in InvertebratesVinny’s reputation in InvertebratesVinny’s reputation in Invertebrates
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Description:

Taken with a telephoto as I couldn't get close enough with the macro (short of wading into a stinking morass!). As soon as the first glut of insects appears, so do Raft Spiders. An adult female is capable of taking down a hawker dragonfly.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

sammy g's picture

Wow I Have Always Wanted To

Wow I Have Always Wanted To See A Raft Spider, Although I Have Never Actually Known How Big They Are Compared To A Human Hand. Do You Know? They Are Very Good Photos.
Sam :)

sam

Vinny's picture

Hi Sam - thanks for the comments.

I've done a lot of Raft Spider photography over the past few years. Lucky enough to have good populations on a heath local to Bournemouth. I also took some video footage and combined it with some of my best still shots which you may enjoy:

http://gallery.me.com/vincentblood#100072

They are not as large as people sometimes think. About the same span as a big House Spider - but far more powerful.
Vinny

sammy g's picture

Oh Ok thankyou very much. I

Oh Ok thankyou very much. I went to dorset last year and looked for some raft spiders in a marsh but we did not see any. Are they very shy or do they not take notice of you ?

sam

Vinny's picture

All depends

Sometimes I've had no problem approaching them - but generally they are very wary. Despite being voracious hunters themselves, they have many predators including birds. Their eyesight is very good so any sudden movements can startle them. If disturbed when on water they will dive underneath and they stay submerged for a long time.

They are also well camouflaged. At first I couldn't even see the ones I found today without scanning round the pond margins with a 400mm telephoto.

Bear in mind I had to find out most of these things by trial and error. It was worth all the effort and to get within 6 inches of an adult female on her nest was a great thrill. The jaws really do look scary - believe it or not I'm arachnophobic but getting up close to these magnificent creatures has helped. My best advice is to persevere and learn the subject and you'll get there eventually!

sammy g's picture

Ok i will, thank you very

Ok i will, thank you very much. I hope you get some great photos of rare/unusual things.
Do you see many birds around where you are, because i am a very strong birdwatcher along with my family but it is always hard to get close up photos especially when it is very sunny.
What Camera do you have ?
Sam

sam