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Banded Fishing Spider (Dolomedes vittatus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Banded Fishing Spider .




Fishing Spiders are completely at home by the water where they find both typical and surprising food sources.



 Updated: 6/1/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Banded Fishing Spider is like many of its kind: large, brown, hairy, and fast. This type of spider is not known to be aggressive toward people and often flees when spotted, but the large size of females (including her legs) puts some people on edge. Males are smaller and have large pedipalps by the face along with a white border around the cephalothorax and abdomen. This white rim around the abdomen begins to stretch upward closer to the rear end. A prominent dark patch in the center of its cephalothorax helps distinguish this species from its relatives.

Fishing Spiders eat aquatic insects and they are almost always found near water habitats. Larger spiders have even eaten small fish by going into the water and catching them. A Fishing Spider can be found floating on the water's surface with all of its legs stretched out in every direction. In addition to being spotted along river, stream, and creek banks, this spider also takes shelter under covered boats and in boathouses. The size and speed of this spider may be alarming, and many a boater and angler has been surprised by one lurking in a corner.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Fast insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Pisauridae [ View More ]
          Genus: Dolomedes [ View More ]
            Species: vittatus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Dolomedes vittatus
Other Name(s): Fishing Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 75mm (0.47in to 2.93in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; ivory
Descriptors: white border; band; ring; edge; dark spot on head; fast; water; big; brown; spread out
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 12mm | Hi: 75mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
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State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).