29 May 2015 – Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Spider on top of water waiting for prey

Spider on top of water waiting for prey

Today while visiting the Pitch Pine Wetlands, I spotted my first ever Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Scientific name: Dolomedes triton Walckenaer). She did not seem to be bothered by my poking around. I think she was just patiently waiting for something to come by for her to prey on. From what I understand, this is a female because of her size, from leg-to-leg; she was about 2.5 inches. Males are smaller.

They are found throughout North America, from southern Canada to Northern Mexico and are more common east of the Rockies. They travel on the water surface like water striders, and will dive underwater to capture prey. They will eat anything that lives in water like invertebrates, tadpoles and even occasionally small fish. They will dive and hold on to underwater vegetation when frightened.

The females will lay their eggs from throughout the summer. The males conduct a ritual courting dance to attract a female, and after they mate, the female will many times eat the male, like a black widow. She then builds a spherical sac in which she lays her eggs. The egg sac is usually placed among vegetation and guards it until the young spiders hatch after about a week.

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