Fun Water Spider Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Water Spider Facts For Kids

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Water spiders spend their entire life underwater, living in a special water spider web that's shaped like a diving bell. This special spider belongs to the kingdom of Animalia, class Arachnida, family Dictynidae, genus Argyroneta, and so it has the scientific name Argyroneta aquatica. Water spiders are more active at night than during the day. They are carnivores that feed on most aquatic invertebrates, including water mites, water boatmen, and phantom midge larvae. Water spider males are more aggressive hunters than females.

There are lots of different species of water spiders like the brown water spider, the big water spider, the Amazon water spider, the giant water spider, the black water spider, and the salt water spider. A water spider is tiny but dangerous as it can bite humans. It possesses venomous fangs that can pierce human skin and can result in inflammation and even a fever. The water spider (Argyroneta aquatica), also called the diving bell spider, is known for its fascinating aquatic silk web, resembling a common diving bell. This species of spider is also the only one known to spend its entire life below the water's surface.

Like all other spiders, mites, and scorpions, water spiders are arachnids and eat tadpoles, insects, and small fish. There are three stages in their life cycle: egg, spiderling, and adult. When water spiders breed, females construct nursery webs in plants on the banks of ponds and streams. These diving bell spiders inhabit freshwater lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, slow-moving streams, especially in central Europe and northern Europe, but also in central Asia and Siberia. One subspecies, the Japanese water spider (Argyroneta aquatica japonica), is found in Japan. These spiders are good swimmers and can carry air on the fine hairs of their abdomen while swimming. Male water spiders are better at swimming and more aggressive hunters than females. Both male and female diving bell spiders build their diving bell webs that are used for digesting prey, but only the female's larger bell web is used for the purposes of mating and raising offspring.

Here on our page, we have lots of water spider facts for kids that everyone can enjoy. Let's look at these interesting facts, and if you like these, you can also read our hobo spider and jumping spider facts.

Fun Water Spider Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Aquatic insects and crustaceans

What do they eat?

Mosquito larvae and daphnia

Average litter size?

30-70 eggs

How much do they weigh?

5.3 oz (150 g)

How long are they?

0.3-0.6 in (8-15 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Gray to dark brown

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them?

Ponds And Slow-moving Streams


Northern And Central Regions Of Europe And Siberia









Water Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a water spider?

The water spider (diving bell spider) is a carnivore that spends its entire life underwater, where it lives in a special web that is shaped like a diving bell.

What class of animal does a water spider belong to?

Water spiders belong to the class of Arachnida.

How many water spiders are there in the world?

The total population of water spiders in the world has not been recorded officially.

Where does a water spider live?

A water spider (or diving bell spider) habitat normally involves slow-moving streams, ponds, and other bodies of freshwater, mostly where underwater vegetation is found in abundance. They are widely distributed across central and northern regions of Europe to Siberia.

What is a water spider's habitat?

Water spiders stay underwater for their entire life. They are found in ponds, marshes, slow-moving streams, eutrophic lakes, and swamps. The water bodies they live in have relatively low pH levels with a dissolved oxygen concentration. They need plants to build their web as they stick to these plants to stop their webs from floating away.

Who do water spiders live with?

Water spiders live mostly by themselves and are known to be solitary creatures.

How long does a water spider live?

The water spider (Argyroneta aquatica) lives for around two years. They are able to remain submerged under the water for a long period of time because of their silk-based structure. They construct this silk structure to retain an oxygen supply.

How do they reproduce?

Male water spiders (Argyroneta aquatica) construct webs close to the webs of females and then crawl into the female web to mate. A female water spider can lay anywhere between 25 to 72 eggs and these are protected within a cocoon dangling from the upper part of her web. These eggs go on to hatch within a few weeks, and the spiderlings are dispersed into the water. Young water spiders often use hollow snail shells and similar contraptions that they fill with air before building their very own spider webs.

What is their conservation status?

Many species of water spiders or diving bell spiders are common. Hence, the IUCN has marked these species as Least Concern.

Water Spider Fun Facts

What do water spiders look like?

Female water spiders can range from 0.3-0.5 in (7.8-13.1 mm), whereas male spiders range between 0.3-0.7 in (7.8-18.7 mm) in length. The males' body size is larger, and this increases their mobility when seeking out mates or hunting. Outside of the water, you can see that the diving bell spider has a dark velvet stomach and a cephalothorax (fused head and upper body) that is a deep brown in color. Underwater, this spider has a magical silvery-like appearance because of the air bubbles which surround its abdomen. There are fine hairs covering its stomach and legs that help capture bubbles of air in the water and give this creature a glittering look. The Cherokee water spider, on the other hand, has black downy hair and red stripes on its body. These spiders can run on top of the water and can dive under the surface as well.

Water spider colors range from light to dark shade brown, and the hairs on its abdomen give it a gray, velvety appearance.

How cute are they?

Water spiders (or diving bell spiders) live underwater in a special web that is shaped like a diving bell. They are not often described as cute.

How do they communicate?

The way that these spiders communicate is not yet known, perhaps because they are predominantly solitary creatures.

How big is a water spider?

The average size of water spiders is around 0.3-0.6 in (8-15 mm). Males are usually larger than females, unlike other species of spiders. A male water spider can reach up to 0.3-0.7 in (7.8-18.7 mm) in length, while a female water spider can reach up to 0.3-0.5 in (7.8-13.1 mm).

How fast can water spiders move?

The exact speed at which these water spiders' legs can move is not known. We do know that they can walk on top of the water's surface through, impressive right?

How much does a water spider weigh?

The average weight of a water spider is 5.3 oz (150 g) and the average water spider (or diving bell spider) size is 0.3-0.7 in (7.8-18.7 mm) long for males, who are approximately 30% larger than females that have a body length of  0.3-0.5 in (7.8-13.1 mm).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female water spiders.

What would you call a baby water spider?

Water spider offspring have the same name as all baby arachnids do. They can simply be referred to as spiderlings or as water spiderlings.

What do they eat?

The diet of a water spider consists of aquatic insects, crustaceans, water mites, phantom midge larvae, and mayfly nymphs. These spiders possess strong fangs, and their bite can be very painful. They use their venomous jaws to stop and catch their prey. They come out of their bell web in order to catch prey but return underwater to digest the food. Male water spiders are more active during the day, whereas females and baby spiders are more active at night.

Are they dangerous?

A water spider bite or diving bell spider bite is dangerous, even though they are very small creatures. The venomous fangs of water spiders can pierce through human skin, and their bite can result in inflammation and sometimes a fever.

Would they make a good pet?

No, a diving bell spider pet is not a good idea as they are wild creatures that can bite humans, resulting in painful health complications.

Did you know...

Water spiders breathe through small openings which are located under the abdomen, and these openings are connected to a lung-like organ.

Water spiders survive in water, but they do not possess any gills. They have a unique way of breathing as their legs and abdomen are covered with tiny hairs, through which they trap air bubbles. When it is underwater, this trapped air around the body gives the spider a silvery appearance. The spider breathes from this bubble and carries it to its underwater web. The spider builds a dome-shaped web among aquatic plants and fills it with air bubbles collected from the water's surface. This makes the web structure take a bell shape, mainly why it is called a diving bell spider. The diving bell serves as an external gill for water spiders.

The most interesting fact about these water spiders is about the air bells that they build. These air bells serve many purposes as the place where they live and consume their prey, mate, molt, lay eggs, and raise their offspring. It also helps them to avoid predators.

The diving bell spider is so efficient in exchanging gases that it can even extract oxygen from stagnant water.

A manufacturing job is named after the water spider! In a warehouse, the person in charge of ensuring that all workstations are supplied with sufficient materials to maintain a productive workforce is termed a 'water spider'.

Do water spiders make webs?

Yes, both male and female water spiders build webs that are used for digesting prey, but only a female diving bell spider web is used for mating and for raising offspring. Oxygen from the water diffuses into the bell web through its silk membrane, whereas carbon dioxide diffuses out. This means that water spiders do not have to come to the surface very often for the replenishment of the air supply of the diving bell, through which they breathe. Despite this, they do have to come to the surface once in a while, whenever the concentration of oxygen in the water gets too low or if the concentration of carbon dioxide increases drastically. The size of the bell web that the male makes is generally smaller than the one built by the female, and since the males have smaller bell webs, they do not require oxygen replenishment as often as the female bells do.

How does the diving bell spider make its bubble?

The diving bell spider lives underwater, and when this water spider comes up to the surface, it traps a bubble of air and then dives beneath the surface to release this bubble under a 'canopy'. The abdomen of the water spider is coated with feathers, just like all other spiders. As previously mentioned, the spider uses this to trap an air bubble around its abdomen. This is the magical process of how a diving bell spider makes its bubble.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including the wolf spider or the tarantula.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our spiders coloring pages.

Written By
Divya Raghav

Divya Raghav dons many hats, that of a writer, a community manager, and a strategist. She was born and raised in Bangalore. After completing her Bachelor’s in Commerce from Christ University, she is pursuing her MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. With diverse experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. She loves to bake, dance, and write content and is an avid animal lover.

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