As promised, click the link below to witness the biggest damn spider I have ever encountered not under glass. Not for the sqeamish. That said, however, this is an amazing creature, and if you ask me it is worth a look.
You really ought to click the thumb and have a look at the full-size photo to get the immersive effect. This spider is as big as my palm. The tiger-stripe pattern on her abdomen and legs is beautiful. In the bigger version, you can see she’s guarding an egg sac, from which a couple of wee baby fishing spiders have already emerged. Aren’t they cute? Also, you’ll notice she’s only got seven legs. The other one must have gotten ripped off, though she doesn’t seem much to care.
Fishing spiders are pretty amazing. Not only can they walk on water the way a water strider does, riding the surface tension using two legs as oars, but they can also “gallop” over the top of the water like a jesus lizard–breaking the surface tension, but moving over it fast enough (three feet per second) not to fall through. They prey on other bugs that land on the surface of the water by injecting them with paralysis venom and then dragging them back to land. They are also capable of reaching through the surface and picking off tadpoles and even fish.