Dolomedes Briangreenei: Newly Discovered Australian Spider Swims And Eats Toads

Posted: Mar 10 2016, 3:39am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Dolomedes Briangreenei: Newly Discovered Australian Spider Swims and Eats Toads
Dolomedes briangreenei, the newly-discovered spider swiming in a pond. Credit: Queensland Museum
  • Novel Spider from Australia is Aquatic and Devours Toads

A novel spider from Australia is aquatic and devours toads. It may come useful in the fine art of pest eradication in the Land Down Under.

Australia’s spider community is an awesome thing indeed. There are new species of spiders being discovered on a constant basis. One of the new ones which has been found is a strange creature. Named in honor of the scientist Brian Greene, it is called the Dolomedes briangreenei. This spider employs the help of minute vibes on the surface of the water in order to find its prey. The scientist said that he was honored to have a spider named after him.

This spider has a fine coat of velvety hair on its body, according to Independent. The male of the species has a dark brown coloration with white stripes. The female has beige stripes instead though.

As for the hair on its body, they are hydrophobic, meaning that they avert any water which comes into contact with them. This allows the spider to skim the surface of the water.

These spiders can even dive beneath the surface of the water and scan the bottom of the pond or stream. The air trapped around their hydrophobic bristles allows them to breath and thus not undergo any suffocation.

Some of the larger spiders tend to feed on frogs and fish as well as tadpoles. While skimming the surface of the water, the D.briangreenei tends to detect the vibrations of its prey and thus it seizes it and gobbles it up.

This spider can not only tell the distance and location of its prey, it can even detect how big it is. It can differentiate between a leaf falling into the water and a toad jumping into it.

When prey comes into view, the spider catches it with claws on its legs. Then it bites into it to paralyze it with its venom. Finally it brings it back to the safety of land to finish the job.

Besides marine life and several species of insects, this spider also eats cane toads. Cane toads are a very destructive species that has invaded Australia and destroyed its ecosystem.

The D.braingreenei is thus a very utilitarian species of spider that can be used as an eco-agent in the management of the cane toad. There is no need for any worry among humans though, since this spider is not poisonous and does not harm human beings.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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