Frog-eating spider rides waves to nab dinner

Dolomedes briangreenei (Supplied)
Dolomedes briangreenei (Supplied)

A new spider has been found which uses vibrations on the water to catch prey as big as a cane toad. Where? Only in Australia.

The newly discovered spider, native to Queensland, has been named after world-renowned physicist Brian Greene because of how it uses 'waves' to navigate and find its dinner.

Dolomedes briangreenei was officially unveiled at the opening of the inaugural World Science Festival Brisbane today, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is pretty proud of it.

"It's wonderful that this beautiful native spider, which relies on waves for its very survival, has found a namesake in a man who is one of the world's leading experts in exploring and explaining the effects of waves in our universe."

Last month it was announced gravitational waves had been detected for the first time, proving Albert Einstein's century-old theory about ripples in space and time.

Prof Greene, the World Science Festival co-founder, says he's honoured to be "closely associated with a spider that has its own deep affinity for waves".

The spider is dark in colour with long legs -- the males have bold white stripes along the sides of its head, while the female has narrower, fawn-coloured stripes.

They're also good swimmers and are normally seen working from the sides of pools and off rocks, and can also scull across the water using their two middle pairs of legs.

"When disturbed or hauling in captured fish, they will plunge through the surface of the water and swim quickly to hide on the bottom", Dr Robert Raven says.

They've been known to eat fish, frogs and tadpoles, including the introduced cane toad species, which makes it a friend to those trying to eradicate the pest.