Monday, 22 August 2011

Fen Raft Spider - Dolomedes plantarius

    Family - Pisauridae
    Genus - Dolomedes
    Fen Raft Spiders or Fishing Spiders are protected by Law.
    Only recordings are from Norfolk and Suffolk Fens and just one
    site in East Sussex. This site is managed by the Sussex Wildlife Trust,
    who were very kind to grant me a permit to visit this site to photograph 
    Dolomedes Plantarius. Many thanks to Alice Parfitt, Reserves Officer
    for Pevensey Marshes for granting the permit and for the map of where
    to find thriving Dolomedes ditches.
    I found eleven of them altogether. I feel honoured and privileged to
    have done so.  
    Six of the eleven, which I photographed, are featured here.
    I nearly fell in a few times and pulled various muscles to get some
    of these shots! Difficult terrain but a truly unique habitat.

    Lying in wait for prey. 
    These Spiders sit with their front legs resting on the
    surface of water. They catch insects, tadpoles and even
    small fish. They can also run across water to catch prey.
    They are able to hide underwater for nearly an hour, if threatened,
    by climbing down reeds and other aquatic plants.

    Dolomedes No.1

    Dolomedes No.2
    I found these two before I'd even entered the Reserve!

    Dolomedes No.3

    Dolomedes No.4

    Dolomedes No.5
    Dolomedes No.6

    Dolomedes 'Nursery'. The young leave this tent-like web, climb to
    higher, drier habitats and can be found in trees and bushes.

    Pevensey Marshes
    Sussex Wildlife Nature Reserve
    East Sussex