Most spiders are not known for their swimming abilities, but they can still survive in water to a certain extent. A majority of spiders are able to use the surface tension of water to “skate” or “walk” across it. This is often seen with small spiders or spiders that live near water sources.
Certain spiders have more specialized behaviors. Fishing spiders (Dolomedes spp.) are a good example of spiders that are comfortable on and around water. They can walk on the water surface, using their front legs to sense vibrations of their prey, and can even dive beneath the water surface to catch small fish or aquatic insects.
The Diving Bell Spider (Argyroneta aquatica) is one of the only truly aquatic spiders. It lives almost its entire life under water and breathes air trapped in a dome-shaped web that works like a diving bell. The spider periodically surfaces to replenish the air supply.
If forced into water, some terrestrial spiders will go into a sort of “survival mode.” They can survive submersion for extended periods by entering into a coma-like state where their metabolic rate drops dramatically, and they use up their stored oxygen very slowly. Also, the fine hairs on a spider’s body can trap air, creating a sort of “diving bell” around them which can give them a little time to survive under water.
But in general, while spiders can manage around water or survive short-term submersion, they’re not swimmers in the traditional sense.
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