Looks like a spider, no wait…
September 12, 2011 6:34 am
It only has six legs.
A friend of mine found this while exploring the woods in Tallapoosa, GA. He swears that it was AT LEAST four inches, if not bigger, that the torso was likely the size of a pecan. He was speaking of it as a spider, but when I looked at the picture, I realized that there aren’t eight legs. He did point out that the abdomen didn’t look like the standard spider variety.
Signature: Lucy King
Since you did not take this photo, we hope your friend has given you permission for us to publish it. This is a female Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, and she is carrying her egg sac which is visible beneath her body. Spiders in the Nursery Web Spider family Pisauridae carry their egg sacs in their chelicerae or fangs until they find a suitable location for spinning a nursery web. They continue to guard the eggs and spiderlings until they die. Nursery Web Spiders, including the Fishing Spiders, are hunting spiders that do not use webs to snare prey. This photo is not critically sharp, so it is difficult to make out certain details. It is entirely possible that this individual is missing two legs, though it appears that the front two pairs of legs are being held together on both sides, creating the illusion that it only has six legs. That is a common pose for Nursery Web Spiders and this posting from our archive shows both the pose and an individual with missing legs. We believe the species is Dolomedes vittatus because of this description on BugGuide: “The two dark-colored spots in the middle of the cephalothorax are almost always more robust in D. vittatus than the more narrow ones found on D. scriptus.” These dark spots behind the head are especially prominent in this individual.