Subject: Malaysian Fishing Spider
January 20, 2014 8:56 am
Came across this spider well camouflaged against granite rocks inches above rushing mountain stream water. Was motionless except for twitches when hit by a large drop of spray. My web crawling seems to point at the dolomedes family.
Would appreciate your opinion and i do believe its as pretty if not more so than you white banded one.
Dear N. Santhesh,
We just returned from a week away from the office and your request is our first new posting. Your letter is intriguing and your photos are positively gorgeous. The spider appears to be iridescent. We do not believe this is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes. We do not even believe it is a Nursery Web Spider in the family Pisauridae. We would love to know if you observed any behavior that led you to believe this spider fishes for prey and is semi-aquatic. Do you think it is possible that it fell in the water and is not really a spider that catches prey beneath the surface of the water?
Dear Mr Marlos,
It was perfectly at home in its environment, on the side of granite boulders just inches above the surface of a fast flowing freezing (by our tropical standards) mountain stream. There was no web to be seen any where near it and from the spines on its legs and body, which i assumed was for trapping a layer of air i surmised that it was a diving spider of some kind. I did observe it for quite some time and in that period it did not move into the water or away from it but it did not appear injured or unwell.
Dear N. Sathesh,
Thank you so much for the additional information. We will continue to research the identity of this beautiful and interesting spider.
Update: Eye Arrangement
We have cropped the image to focus on the eye arrangement which does not look like the Malaysian Fishing Spider pictured on TravelBlog nor the family Pisauridae eye arrangement pictured on Bugguide. We are going to reach out to Mandy Howe for assistance.
Dear Mr Marlos,
This is the stream in which that spider was found. Incidentally just for your interest as i was standing on one of these boulders this blue winged insect (perhaps a wasp?) the size of my big toe landed, when if flew off it left this carcass of a large spider it had been carrying about underneath.
Hi again N. Sathesh,
Thanks for sending us the habitat photo. We are going to create a new posting of the wasp and new spider.
Update: January 23, 2014
We just received a comment indicating that this resembles a Lichen Huntsman Spider in the genus Pandercetes, and the photos on FlickRiver support that identification.
Dear Mr Marlos,
Yes it does look the part doesn’t it, This individual must have decided that it could make a good living at this location. The stream was full of fish and insects such as water skaters, perhaps in this section of roiling water some of these potential prey might get into difficulties that could facilitate capture.
Thanks for the info.
Mandy Howe confirms Pandercetes species. January 23, 2014
Yep, genus Pandercetes of family Sparassidae is spot on! There are a handful of species in that genus that could live in Malaysia. It’s usually the males that are more colorful and iridescent, so that may be what this one is (though I can’t see the pedipalps very well to verify). “Lichen Spider” is definitely a fitting nickname!
Wow. Thanks so much Mandy.