Agasthya 5.3 Mystery of the disappearing spiders
Any and all opinions expressed in this newsletter are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of ATREE. 

Centre for Excellence in Conservation Science
Royal Enclave,Srirampura,Jakkur Post
Telephone: 080-23635555 (EPABX)
Fax : 080- 23530070

I was trying to photograph water skitters when I noticed a white striped spider on a wet rock. Though it appeared to be waiting to make a kill I did not pay much attention to it as my camera was trying to capture the territorial fight between the skitters and water beetles. Unsuccessful at my attempts, I wanted to try my luck at the spider and noticed it was gone. Not putting too much thought on it, we continued our trek down when my colleague, Seshadri, stopped at a rivulet. He spotted a large spider on a coconut sized rock some fifteen meters away. The rock resembled a small 'island' being surrounded by water on all sides by at least three meters. Looking through the binoculars, I noticed a very large 'roundish' brown spider, different from the one I had seen earlier but positioned the same way - close to water and appearing to be waiting to strike. Seshadri and I walked slowly towards it. We lost sight of the spider when Seshadri was distracted by a frog with yellow markings on its leg. After he was done identifying the frog we re-focused our attention back to the spider and alas it was gone. It was puzzling because the spider had nowhere to go. We looked around and it was not to be seen. Could it be hiding under water? Losing hope to find the individual, we thought there should be similar spiders on other rocks. We started looking at larger rocks and were relieved to see, not one, but two. I walked up to it to get a closer look when one of the spiders did what I had expected it to do solve the mystery of the disappearing spiders. With ease, it crawled into water with a bubble of air on its back. I presume that it can use the air on its back to breath under water. I had never seen a spider do that in the field though I recall watching a documentary on TV about diving spiders in Amazon. Looking around I saw a spider with a stripe dive into water too. It was indeed sensational to see the forest throw up surprises such as these.



Editorial Team
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salegame

Volume 5,  Issue 3
      November 2011

A S H O K A   T R U S T   F O R   R E S E A R C H   I N   E C O L O G Y   A N D   T H E   E N V I R O N M E N T

Mystery of the disappearing spiders
- Allwin Jesudasan
If you have any suggestions or comments please let us know through the boxes below