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Phylum Arthropoda > Class Arachnida
Marine spider
Desis martensi
Family Desidae
updated Nov 2019
Where seen? This energetic little spider is commonly seen on many of our shores at low tide: constantly on the move, scurrying about among rocks, coral rubble or corals. It is more active at night and can be quite abundant, with many seen on one trip. 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. Hairy feet and long legs, which distribute its weight, prevents it from breaking the water surface tension.

'Walking' on water.
Cyrene Reef, Mar 18
Photo shared by Liz Lim on facebook.


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

The spider's high tide shelter?
St John's Island, Jul 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.
What does it eat? These spiders have been seen clutching in their jaws all kinds of animals including 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

Caught a Sea slater?
Sentosa, Mar 05

Marine spiders on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Pulau Sekudu, May 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his flickr.

East Coast, Aug 09
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.


Terumbu Bukom, Nov 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Small SIsters Island, Aug 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.


Terumbu Raya, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Raya, Jun 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.


Terumbu Bemban, Jul 18
Photo shared by Liz Lim on facebook.

Beting Bemban Besar, Mar 17
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Jun 20
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, May 17
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.


Pulau Salu, Apr 21
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


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

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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