Location: Tunica Falls in Mississippi
May 11, 2012 11:07 pm
My friend and I stumbled upon this spider when we were on a hiking trip. She nearly walked right into it! It was huge and very fuzzy, but as you can tell from the picture, also very beautiful. I don’t know much about spiders , but I’ve never seen one like this. I’d really like to know what kind it is. Thanks!
Signature: curious hiker
Dear curious hiker,
We are relatively certain that this majestic spider is one of the Nursery Web Spiders in the family Pisauridae, a group known for the pronounced maternal care of the eggs and young spiderlings, however, we are not certain about the species. We believe this is a member of the genus Pisaurina because of the white markings, however, there are some inconsistencies including the jagged line to the markings on the abdomen and that the markings seem to circle the head area as opposed to being more like stripes. We would not entirely overrule that this might be one of the Fishing Spiders in the genus Dolomedes like the Six Spotted Fishing Spider. Here are two photos from BugGuide for comparison: Pisaurina brevipes and Pisaurina mira. We will try to get another opinion.
Eric Eaton responds
I’m pretty certain it is a Dolomedes, but after that I’m not positive. Lots of variation in markings in that genus. Mississippi would be where a lot of species overlap in range, too.
Update: May 12, 2012
We think a very likely candidate might be the White Banded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus. This photo on BugGuide shares many similarities and the description on BugGuide reads: “Generally an ID can be made by the white band along the ‘face’ (clypeus).”