Professor Lindsey Sverk from Binghamton University (USA) while researching the fauna of Panama, encountered the fact that a large semiaquatic spider successfully hid from her at the bottom of a reservoir. This species of Trechalea extensa is known to actively hunt on the surface of the water, but it has not been caught diving. However, this time, Sverk was too persistent in trying to catch the spider, the insect could not escape, and it showed a hitherto unknown skill.
Most of all, Lindsey was surprised not by the fact that the spider dived under water, but by the fact that he sat there for more than half an hour. This made it possible to closely study the insect, and as a result it was noticed that its entire body was covered with a thin film, apparently consisting of air. It is held between the hydrophobic hairs on the body of the spider, and helps it not to drown during a long stay under water.
Professor Sverk isn’t sure why the spider needs such aerial underwater protection. Perhaps he literally breathes this air. Or the air simply closes the respiratory organs from the penetration of water so that the spider does not choke. There is another possible function – the layer of air serves as thermal insulation and allows the spider to survive in cold water in the bottom layer.
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