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Fishing Spider (Dolomedes spp.)


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


 Updated: 4/6/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Fishing Spider  
Picture of Fishing-Spider
Picture of Fishing-Spider Picture of Fishing-SpiderPicture of Fishing-SpiderPicture of Fishing-SpiderPicture of Fishing-Spider


The Fishing Spider is commonly found near bodies of water and, as any fisherman could tell you, it can grow to be 'this big'.





Fishing Spiders are typically found near bodies of water. They may also venture into nearby woods for terrestrial hunting. Fishing Spiders are large and look menacing. Their leg span can stretch to more than 75mm (3 inches), making some slightly bigger than the palm of an adult hand. Like nearly every spider in North America, it can bite and deliver venom, but its venom is not considered dangerous unless you happen to be specifically allergic to it.

As members of the Nursery-Web family, females will lay their eggs on a silken mat and then wrap them up into a small ball. She will then carry the egg sac in her jaws as she looks for a good place for them to hatch. She will build a web and attach her egg sac to it, then stand guard until the spiderlings emerge. Hundreds of spiderlings can hatch at once and they eventually disperse from the nursery on their own silken threads.

Fishing Spiders get their name from their hunting behavior and occasional food source. They are adept at ambushing insects and other food items on land, but they are also able to submerge their bodies just under the surface of calm water and hunt for small fish and tadpoles. The bristly hairs on their body trap air bubbles that they use to breathe while underwater and waiting for something to swim by. They have been known to stay submerged for more than 30 minutes at a time when hunting in water. They are also able to eat insects skimming or treading on the water's surface above them.

They are active during the summer months. Look for Fishing Spiders on or near boat docks and marinas. They may also be seen near shorelines and the banks of rivers and creeks. Keep an eye on still water to see if any are quietly hunting.
Basic Information
Common Name: Fishing Spider
Scientific Name: Dolomedes spp.
Category: Spider


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 26mm (0.27in to 1.01in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: brown, tan, gray
Additional Descriptors: large, huge, biting, venomous, chevrons, zigzags, water




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Pisauridae
Genus: Dolomedes
Species: spp.


Spider Anatomy (Typical)
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).


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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 below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Fishing Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
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
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
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


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