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30 June 2009 @ 07:17 pm
For those who like big spiders....  

I visited Jack Pine Trail late Sunday afternoon just as the clouds were beginning to roll in. Among the other interesting wildlife that I saw, I found this huge spider sitting on one of the boardwalks over the marsh. It was easily the size of my hand with all of its legs outstretched; I hadn't even realized that such large spiders lived in Ontario. While I love nature and the various creatures that inhabit our planet, I do have to say I prefer creatures with six legs or less. Spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and other "creepy crawlies" just make my skin crawl. And, as I imagine that most people feel the same way, I've decided to make a separate entry so those who don't want to see this spider can read ahead to the next entry detailing the other things I saw at Jack Pine.

The largest spider I've ever seen (in the wild, anyway)....

Fishing Spider

Fishing Spiders, also known as dock spiders here in Canada given that they are frequently seen at cottages, live along the edges of ponds and streams. They have the amazing ability to walk on water, and when insects, small tadpoles or small fish cause the water to vibrate just enough to be sensed, the spider lunges forward and grabs its prey with both legs and fangs simultaneously. This species has even been known to hunt frogs.

Unlike other spiders, the Fishing Spider can submerge itself when frightened. The hairs on its body collects air bubbles, enabling the spider to breathe under water for about 10 or 15 minutes.

A fascinating and amazing creature for sure, but still creepy, and a good reason to thoroughly inspect your boat or your canoe before you take it out on the water the next time you visit the cottage!