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The Raft Spider
(Dolomedes fimbriatus)


The Raft spider is Britain's largest spider and perhaps the largest spider in Central and Northern Europe. Some times called Fishing or Bog Raft Spider, Females reach more than 22 mm in length the males only 10-13mm The spiders need water in their habitats, bog pools and ditches on wet heath land in southern England are the best places to look. Despite their size they are able to move across the water surface as these photos show, if threatened it is also able to submerge under water for minutes at a time.

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Adults sit on the surface of the water waiting to prey on insects sometimes as large as damselflies and can catch small fishes which the spider attracts by vibrating the surface of the water with it's front legs, it may also take tadpoles and frogs.


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The males court the females with a prolonged display ending in a brief mating, she may then lay more than 1000 eggs in greenish sacks, these photographs were taken in Surrey, southern England.

 

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