Subject: Large spider by swimming pool
Location: Rollingwood, Texas
August 3, 2015 6:01 am
This approx. 3 inch spider has been lying in wait for prey (we think) right inside the opening to one of our pool’s skimmer baskets. There is some rather loose webbing spun inside where we can reach in to remove the basket proper.
I can’t find a spider with similar markings – everything I find has lighter color bands between darker bands rather than dark bands in the center. The legs are slightly banded as well.
I’d like to get proper ID so I can assure folks using the pool the spider isn’t after them and is harmless to swim around? Thank you very much.
This is definitely a Nursery Web Spider in the family Pisauridae, and we are relatively certain it is a Six Spotted Fishing Spider, Dolomedes triton, which is a variable species that can be viewed on BugGuide. Fishing Spiders in the genus Dolomedes are frequently found in the immediate vicinity of a body of water, hence the attractiveness of your pool. Though they get quite large, Fishing Spiders are not aggressive towards humans and they are not considered dangerous. There is always the possibility that a bite might occur if carelessly handling a larger spider, but we feel the chances of being bitten are quite slim.
Daniel: Thank you! We have two adult children (one of whom brings his dog over to swim) and though neither is particularly skittish around spiders, due to the size of this one I wanted to be able to assure them there’s no reason to try and harm the spider or even chase it off. We don’t spray (with rare exceptions) and try to take a no-kill approach whenever possible. I always feel proper ID is one of the best adjuncts to that approach, but simply couldn’t make the identification in this case.
I sincerely appreciate your help. /Deb Wilson