Webnesday (58): Dark Delight

I have no newly-seen spiders to report; however, my ramble through the archives has brought another to light which I’m pretty sure I’ve never presented here, although it was certainly one of the most memorable in all my years of visiting our cabin in northern Minnesota, and one of my all-time favorites. It’s a fishing spider, one of the largest of all the spiders that live in our area; the female is about twice the size of the male and can attain a body length of more than an inch (2.5 cm) and a leg span of several inches, larger than the width of an average man’s palm. I find fishing spiders particularly fascinating. Although they are often found far from water, they are excellent fishers: They often stand perfectly still next to a body of water with their front legs resting on its surface, feeling for the telltale vibrations of small fish. When they sense them, they act quickly to catch them, and can even completely submerge to do so, and they can also walk across the water like a water boatman. There are three species: Six-spotted, dark, and striped. This one is the dark one (Dolomedes tenebrosus). I met her in July of 2002. By this time of the year, she had produced her large egg sac and carried it around with her everywhere. Fishing spiders are not aggressive toward people and can frequently be safely approached, although they will run (really fast!) if they are frightened). Click on the photo if you’d like more detail.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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18 Responses to Webnesday (58): Dark Delight

  1. We call them Raft Spiders here, and we have 2 species. I have never seen one. Lovely shot with the egg-sac!

    • krikitarts says:

      When the females are carrying their egg sacs, I’ve read that you can coax them onto your hand and carry them about–they won’t let go of it. I hope to be able to try that at some point!

  2. Vicki says:

    What a fascinating spider……and such long legs.

    • krikitarts says:

      They really are magnificent. I hope to find one down on the lake shore with its feet on the water some day. On the average, I’d say I see one around every three or four years.

  3. Peter Klopp says:

    Great macro image of the fishing spider from your archives! Some people would be scared just to view from a distance.

    • krikitarts says:

      They are very impressive and, like all spiders, are able to bite, but although their fangs look really fierce, they would much rather retreat than fight, and their venom carries no toxins of any significant risk to humans. I always feel really privileged when I come across one. If I approach slowly and respectfully, they seem content to let me get quite close.

  4. I’ve seen a few of these over the years but tend to give them a wide berth. Nice shot.

    • krikitarts says:

      They are very impressive and certainly look fierce, but there’s really no need to avoid getting close. They are not aggressive toward people and don’t seem to mind reasonable proximity at all. Thanks, Belinda!

  5. shoreacres says:

    What an interesting creature. Does she literally carry that egg sac, or is it attached to her body in some way. If she’s carrying it like a sack of flour, I’d think it would be exhausting. It might be otherwise, now that I think of it.

    • krikitarts says:

      She carries the egg sac around, gently but firmly, in her fangs, pretty much until the spiderlings are ready to hatch. Her legs are so long that she remains very agile, even though it looks like it might get in her way. It also is very lightweight.

  6. That’s an excellent closeup, and the background color provides an attractive complement.

  7. Adrian Lewis says:

    Striking image, Gary, and very interesting facts too. :)

    • krikitarts says:

      I’ll take “striking” as a nice compliment and an appropriate adjective, even though she’s not doing so at the moment. She certainly does look rather fierce, I’ll readily admit, although I can easily imagine her fuzzy chelicerae resembling a rather comical Nietzsche-type mustache.

  8. Great shot, Gary. I’ve photographed one fishing spider but it wasn’t near the water and until now I had no idea what its natural history was. Thanks! I like how those two of her eyes seem to be looking at you and I always love a good look at hairy palps. :-)

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