dark fishing spider

(Dolomedes tenebrosus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

dark fishing spider

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Regularly occurring

Season

Early May through September

Habitat

Deciduous forests, often far from water; human houses near deciduous forests.

Size

Male: ¼ to ½
Female: to 1

 

 

          Photo by Brian Johnson

Identification

This is a large, robust, nursery web spider. It is the largest fishing spider.

The adult female body is to 1 long. It is light brown with light and dark brownish-gray markings.

The front part of the body (cephalothorax) is about the same size as the rear part (abdomen). The covering (carapace) of the cephalothorax has dark markings that resemble the face of an ant. On the front on the cephalothorax there are eight eyes in two rows of four each. Both rows of eyes are moderately curved. The inner eyes in the back row are only slightly larger than the outer eyes.

The abdomen is rounded in the front, widest in the middle, and tapers toward the rear. On the rear half of the abdomen there are three conspicuous, dark, “W” shaped markings, each mark ending in a light brown mark. The “W” marks may be somewhat outlined in white but the outline will be broken and incomplete.

Each leg is conspicuously banded and has long black spines. The femur is light brown with black bands and the tibia are reddish-brown with black bands. The last leg segment (tarsus) has 3 claws. The legs are very long in proportion to the body size. The legspan of the female can be over 3.

The male is similar to the female but only about half the size, ¼ to ½ long, and one-fourteenth the weight.

 
Similar
Species

Striped fishing spider (Dolomedes scriptus) is similar but smaller. The “W” markings on the rear of the abdomen are outlined in white all across the abdomen.

Wolf spiders (family Lycosidae) have three rows of eyes, including a pair of very large posterior median eyes. The anterior median eyes are not visible from the front. Wolf spiders are most often seen perched horizontally.


Food

Large insects and small vertebrates

 
Life Cycle

These spiders reproduce in mid-summer. A 2013 study shows that the male never survives the mating process. The male is monogamous, not out of loyalty, but because it spontaneously dies after mating while still attached to the female. The female then eats the dead male. In June the female produces a large egg sac into which she begins laying eggs. She carries the egg sac around with her mouth as she wanders about. The egg sac will eventually contain up to almost 1,400 eggs and be up to in diameter. When the eggs are about the hatch she attaches the sac to foliage well above the ground, builds a nursery web around it, and stands guard near it. The newly hatched spiderlings remain in the nursery web until they molt, and then they disperse.

Immature adults hibernate under stones, under loose bark, in tree cavities, and in human dwellings. Males mature and mate in the spring of the first year. Females mature in two years.

 
Behavior

These spiders are most often seen perched vertically. They hunt for prey mostly at night, remaining motionless on a tree trunk, wall, or other vertical surface.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 24, 29.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Araneae (spiders)

 

Suborder:

Araneomorphae

 

No Rank:

Entelegynae (eight-eyed spiders)

 

No Rank:

RTA clade

 

Superfamily:

Lycosoidea

 

Family:

Pisauridae (nursery web spiders)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

a fishing spider

brownish-gray fishing spider

dark fishing spider

fishing spider


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

carapace

The hard, upper (dorsal), shell-like covering (exoskeleton) of the body or at least the thorax of many arthropods and of turtles and tortoises.

 

cephalothorax

The front part of a spider’s body, composed of the head region and the thoracic area fused together. Eyes, legs, and antennae are attached to this part.

 

femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this arachnid.

Michele Lloyd


On the inside of the screen of our sliding glass door. I am assuming that is her egg sac.

  dark fishing spider    

Brian Johnson


This spider was in the tall grass. The span of the legs was close to 90 mm. The body close to 30 mm.

  dark fishing spider    

       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)
Bill Keim
 
  Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)  
     
  Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider)
Allen Chartier
 
  Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider)  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this arachnid.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Video S1
Royal Society journal supplements
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 19, 2013

Spontaneous male death in the dark fishing spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus. (1) Male is introduced into the mating arena. (2) D. tenebrosus courtship behaviour. (3) Copulation and spontaneous male death. (4) Male is detached from the female and removed from the mating arena. Video by Steven K. Schwartz. This research was published in the journal Biology Letters in the paper: Spontaneous male death and monogyny in the dark fishing spider by Steven K. Schwartz, William E. Wagner Jr and Eileen A. Hebets. The doi link for the article is http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0113

 
     
  Dolomedes Tenebrosus Mating
Silka Buns
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 3, 2010

I believe it is the hemoglobin pressure that was released which shocked/killed the male. However, I could be wrong. Cheers!

Please enjoy this video of Dolomedes Tenebrosus giving eachother some lovi

 
     
  Dolomedes Tenebrosus - Brownish Grey Fishing Spider HD
trumansnare
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jan 20, 2011

Brownish-Grey Fishing Spider (Dolomedes Tenebrosus)
Feeding video and hand held pictures.
All video and Pictures were shot by me.

Makes for an awesome pet. Much different than holding a tarantula, these may not be AS big. But they are big, and extremely fast. Let this thing run up your arm :)

Video Cam:
Panasonic SD60

Camera D-SLR:
Canon 450D Rebel Xsi

 
     
  Dark Fishing Spider (Pisauridae: Dolomedes tenebrosus) on Fence
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 8, 2011

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (07 August 2011). Thank you to Lynette Schimming (@Bugguide.net) for confirming the identity of this specimen!

 
     
  The Dark Fishing spider’s Deadly Mating Game - ScienceTake | The New York Times
The New York Times
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 1, 2013

For male spiders, mating with a larger, hungry female can be a risky business. But for the dark fishing spider, sex is guaranteed death sentence.

Subscribe to the Times Video newsletter for free and get a handpicked selection of the best videos from The New York Times every week: http://bit.ly/timesvideonewsletter

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The Dark Fishing spider’s Deadly Mating Game - ScienceTake
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheNewYorkTimes

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this arachnid.

Michele Lloyd
7/16/2017

Location: Bloomington, MN

On the inside of the screen of our sliding glass door. I am assuming that is her egg sac.

dark fishing spider


Kimberly Anderson
6/9/2017

Location: At the edge of St. Croix State Forest, just south of Highway 48.

Nearest body of water was at least 200 feet away.  Found one the weekend before in an outhouse in the same general area


Brian Johnson
6/18/2015

Location: Northern St. Louis County near a small lake.

This spider was in the tall grass. The span of the legs was close to 90 mm. The body close to 30 mm.

dark fishing spider


     
     
 

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