Water Spider

Argyroneta aquatica

About

The Water Spider lives underwater, building a bell-shaped web between underwater plant stems. It can be spotted as it comes to the water's surface to trap air in the hairs on its body, which it takes down to fill the web. It lives in this large air bubble during the day, and hunts at night. Mating takes place within the web retreat and the female builds a special egg chamber in which she lays and guards her eggs. Water Spiders can be found in weedy lakes and ponds, and very slow-flowing streams.

How to identify

Although there are several other species of spider that live in wetlands or even on the water's surface, the Water Spider is the only spider that spends its entire time underwater. If caught while pond dipping, the Water Spider can be recognised by the silvery air bubble it carries around on the hairs on its body.

Where to find it

Widespread.

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage all kinds of insects into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In turn, they'll provide vital food for other creatures such as frogs and toads. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Water Spider
Latin name
Argyroneta aquatica
Category
Invertebrates
Spiders
Statistics
Body length: 0.8-1.5cm
Conservation status
Common.