Although water spiders live in the water, they do not breathe through gills like fish. These spiders build a web on the surface of the water and allow it to catch air bubbles they use to breathe. The spiders also use these bubbles as a place to lay their eggs.
Water spiders live in ponds, streams and shallow lakes in northern Asia, central Europe, Siberia and Britain. It is the only spider to spend its entire life under water and its body is covered in short hairs that trap air. Water spiders grow to be less than 1-inch long and are in a different family than land-dwelling spiders.
Water spiders are generally nocturnal animals that feed at night. The males will venture to find food while the females generally stay close to home and eat anything that crosses their paths. Water spiders eat things like tadpoles and other small aquatic invertebrates.
Water spiders hibernate during the colder months. To do this, they build an "air bell," a series of webbing that traps air for the spider to breathe. Before hibernating, the spiders will close up the air bell by lining it with silk.
To mate, the male spider will build an air bell next to a female's nest. He chews through her nest and mates with her. After the female lays her eggs, she builds a cocoon around the eggs, protecting them until they hatch. The baby spiders hatch a few weeks later.