Male Fishing Spider

2013 May 18

We all went fishing at the Otter Lake Dam on July 1, 2012. And while fishing in the fast-flowing water just below the dam, we spotted this big, leggy spider walking across the surface.

How big was it? Well, here he is next to my forefinger. Note: I do not have small hands. His body was about 15 mm long (a bit over half an inch), and his legspan was about 8 cm (a hair over 3 inches).

When we first got him home, he was a bit dried out, so I gave him a water-soaked paper towel to drink from. I got a few pictures while he was drinking, but then he abruptly spread his legs and scampered off behind the furniture where I couldn’t see him anymore.

And then, the next day, Sandy found him again in the laundry room, which is downstairs and down the hall from where I lost him. So he was definitely willing to move around quite a bit overnight.

He appears to be one of the big Fishing Spiders, specifically a male Dolomedes scriptus. I can tell he’s male because he has those enlarged tips on his pedipalps,

and can tell his species because of the specific markings on the back of his abdomen (specifically the unbroken “W” shapes on the rear half of the abdomen).

While his central pair of eyes are slightly enlarged, they are not nearly as enlarged as they would be on a wolf spider (which are similar to fishing spiders, but generally not quite as big)

Anyway, this fellow was probably out looking to mate, so after the photographing we let him go down by the swampy pond in the woods behind our house. We have seen other species of fishing spiders there, so he probably found someone.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. May 18, 2013

    You can tell he was male because he had a six pack of Budweiser next to him while he was fishing.

    By the way, I love the spider tattoo on his forehead. I wonder, who did it for him?

    Fantastic photos as always. I’ll throw you a link tomorrow.

  2. katbird permalink
    May 18, 2013

    Handsome guy!!

  3. Jedi Master Ivyan permalink
    May 19, 2013

    He immediately reminds me of the “rabid” wolf spiders I frequently encountered in SE Arizona. Those things are darn fast and quite big enough for my taste.

  4. May 19, 2013

    KT: I’d never noticed that, but it *does* look like he has a tattoo of another spider on his head!

  5. Carole permalink
    May 19, 2013

    Love a good spider story, thanks.

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