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Phylum Arthropoda > Class Arachnida
Marine spider
Desis martensi
Family Desidae
updated Nov 13
Where seen? This little busy spider is commonly seen on many of our shores at low tide: on rocky shores, coral rubble areas and reefs. This spider was described from Singapore and the type specimen was collected at the coral reefs fringing the island now known as Sentosa.

Features: Body to about 1cm long. Its head and huge jaws are smooth maroon, body and legs are furry, greyish sometimes with a pink tinge. At high tide, it hides in air pockets among crevices of submerged rocks, waterproofing these with a mat of silk. It emerges at low tide to hunt. It can 'walk' on water, scuttling rapidly over the water. Its long legs distributes its weight and hairy feet prevents it from breaking the water surface tension.

What does it eat? These spiders have been seen clutching in their jaws: shore crickets, sea slaters and little shrimps.

Baby spiders: Egg cocoons are placed in waterproofed tubes sealed with silk.

Status and threats: The Marine spider is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.
According to the Singapore Red Data Book: "Loss of the natural intertidal zone in reefs and rocky shores would threaten its survival."

Caught a shrimp almost as big as itself!
Tuas, May 05


Caught a shore cricket.
Kusu Island, Apr 08

'Walking' on water.
Cyrene Reef, Oct 07

Mating?
Terumbu Bemban, Jul 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Caught a Sea slater?
Sentosa, Mar 05

Marine spiders on Singapore shores

Photos for free download from wildsingapore flickr

more photos of marine spiders on Singapore shores

Family Desidae recorded for Singapore
from Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore
in red are those listed among the threatened animals of Singapore from Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore.

  Family Desidae
  Desis martensi (Reef spider) (VU:Vulnerable)

Diplocanthopoda marina

Links

  • Desis martensi on Singapore Red Data Book 2008 on the NParks website (pdf).
  • Palp romance on The Annotated Budak: Marcus Ng shares some history about the discovery and thoughts about this spider.

References

  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Ng, P. K. L. & Y. C. Wee, 1994. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened Plants and Animals of Singapore. The Nature Society (Singapore), Singapore. 343 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
 
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