Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fishing Spiders, Again

I usually check for fishing spiders on my way home from work. Normally they are close to the water and quite hard to spot. I expect to have to search for them. But this time there was a large one out on the pavement instead of down by the water. I backed away slowly so as not to scare it away and got out my camera. I started by taking some shots from a distance, with the telephoto, in case it took off when I got close.

fishing spider

Unfortunately it was sitting right in the shadow of the reeds. But that was probably deliberate on its part to make it less obvious. I've never seen them out in the open like this before. I wonder what brought it out?

I then switched to macro and slowly approached. I took a bunch of photos without scaring it away.

fishing spider

I even got away with moving my shadow across it to get a better background.

fishing spider

In fact it ignored me so totally, and didn't move at all, that I started to think it must be dead. But when I poked it with my finger it finally ran away!

This was a large adult with a body about 2 cm long. There were also numerous small juveniles less than a centimeter. (I counted 10 in a small area.) I wonder how long it takes them to grow? The babies that I saw last time were very tiny, less than a millimeter.

fishing spider

I also wonder what the biggest factor is in their mortality. They go from hundreds of babies, to tens of juveniles, to one or two adults. Is their population controlled most by availability of food? Or by predation? Or something else? I wonder what eats them? It seems like the koi would eat anything, but they seem too slow. A dragonfly might be fast enough to catch them.

See all 6 photos as a slideshow or overview

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