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FUN FACTS: More on insects and spiders that are divers

There is a group of spiders that lives between the low and high watermark along the ocean shores, and when they sense the tide coming in, they retreat to a tiny coral cave or crevice and weave a tight silken door across the entrance. The water comes higher and higher, covering the spider's little retreat but not flooding it. Hours later, when the tide drops, the spider comes out of its watertight hideaway and goes about its business.

Another spider, called the water-spider, spends most of its life underwater even though it needs to breathe air. Even when newly hatched, it can surround its body with a film of air and can dive and swim for long periods of time.

As an adult, this spider actually lives underwater in what looks like a homemade diving bell. The spider makes this shelter by fastening together several submerged stems of aquatic plants with silk bindings, and then makes a silk sheet that is fastened horizontally between the stems.

The spider comes to the surface, traps a bubble of air, dives down with the bubble, and releases it under the little canopy. Before long, the silk sheet looks like a deep umbrella top, filled with air. Here, the spider lives its life, resting, eating and reproducing. Whenever the spider needs more air, it simply goes to the surface to fetch another bubble.


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