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nursery web spider vs. funnel web spider
You recently identified a large spider carrying a big egg sack to a funnel nest as a nursery web. I think it is a funnel web…because of the striped legs…and the funnel in a tree location..somewhere around Durham NC. I believe that the nursery web spiders have a drabber appearance…but i just thought you might want to check it out. Tell me if I am wrong because I find these spiders all the time, and I’d love to know exactly what it was. Best,
mary Sonis

Followup: crittercam
This is my funnel web spider…I think…the egg sac she is carrying is the size of a shooter marble. her eggs hatched…that’s a lot of spiderlings she was near her mate in this funnel…note the striped legs on both … so what do you think it is? I’m not convinced this girl is a fishing spider By the way , I love your site! Best,
Mary Sonis

Hi Mary,
We were having some trouble making sense out of your multiple letters and referred back to the posting on our site that you cited from September 18, 2005 which is on our Spiders 5 page. Terry wrote: “Both were originally just outside the hole in a hollow tree” but he makes no mention of a web. Your letter included three of your own photos, two of the female with egg sac and hatchlings, and another photo. You wrote “she was near her mate in this funnel.” We are identifying your female spider with the egg sac and her hatchlings as a Dolomedes Fishing Spider, one of the Nursery Web Spiders. You can look at the photos posted to BugGuide and see that many have the striped legs you are using to identify Funnel Web Spiders. You can also see from the images on BugGuide, that Funnel Web Spiders in the family Agelenidae also have striped legs. They are not as big as the Dolomedes Fishing Spiders, and they spin funnel webs, unlike the hunting Dolomedes that don’t spin webs. Your mistake is in thinking that you have photos of one species when you have actually photographed two species. We are most thrilled with your photo of the female Dolomedes with her hatchlings.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for all the help with this. Ok, I have 2 species..I am curious why my Dolomedes would build her nursery web 6 inches from a funnel spider…and actually within the webbing of the funnel. I would think the funnel spider would think she had won the lottery as far as dinner is concerned! As far as I can see the funnel web has eaten none of our spiderlings…who are slowly dispersing along my back wall. i really appreciate all your effort on this…your site is just dynamite. Sincerely,
Mary Sonis

Followup: (08/14/2008)
Hi again Mary,
One more thought for you to ponder is that though many spiders are maternal and protective of their eggs and young, including Fishing Spiders, Wolf Spiders, and Lynx Spiders, we do not know of a single case where the female spider wants anything to do with her mate once she has mated, unless she wants to eat him like a Black Widow. Why the Fishing Spider would choose to deposit her spiderlings near a Funnel Web Spider is a very good question.

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Spider in Ohio
Well we have been finding spiders in the house lately and came here to find out what they are. Turns out they are wolf spiders…. Oh joy … NOT lol I must say I am NOT a fan of spiders. More the fact I am scared to death of them. Even coming to this site was very hard to do. lol But seeing I am here I wanted to asked you about one we saw in Meigs County in Ohio. At the end of a parking lot of a motel we stayed at there is a swampy area with cat tails and the sort. I saw some bird flying around a big puddle in the parking lot. When I went to see what they were looking at, I saw a spider. It was completly underwater and moving to the edge quickly. Size wise I guess I would say with legs included around 2 inches or so. I am sending a picture of it which shows the marking pretty good …Well as good as I could get with not wanting to get to close. Yes ME taking a picture of a spider. Guess it impressed me. lol

This is a Six Spotted Fishing Spider, Dolomedes triton. These amazing spiders are associated with wetlands, and they are capable of spending periods of time underwater, either to escape predators, like birds, or to catch prey, including small fish.

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What kind of spider is this???
Dear Bugman,
We found this spider on our back porch resting next to a mud dobber’s nest. We tried to identify her from pictures on your site & we think it is a fishing spider but couldn’t find one with the same white markings. Could you please identify her for us? We live in Central Florida in a very rural area. We went to check on her the next day but she was gone. Thank you.
Suzi Haws
Sanford, FL

Hi Suzi,
We agree this is a Dolomedes Fishing Spider, but it is unlike any we have seen. The resolution on your image is quite poor, but the coloration is still very distinctive. We will check with Eric Eaton to see if he recognizes this stunning specimen. Here is Eric’s response: “Daniel: I applaud you for reognizing the genus. Good work! I don’t know for certain, but suspect this is Dolomedes albineus, maybe D. scriptus. The submitter might want to try Bugguide’s “ID Request” section as well, as we have several spider experts, at least one in Florida. Eric” If you submit to BugGuide, please let us know what the final determination is on this specimen.

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spider eating a dragon fly.
I have no idea what this is….I think it could be a fishing spider, There was no web present in the area (a shed in Milo Maine). It caught the dragon fly without leaving the spot I took the picture.
Robert A. Prescott

Hi Robert,
Your photo does not provide an angle for easy identification, but it sure is a dramatic image. We believe, based on size and description, that this is a Fishing Spider that has made fast food of a Dragonfly.

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Fishing Spiders…nowhere near fish or water?
Hello Lisa and Daniel,
I’ll start by saying that you run a wonderful site, because although I know you get a lot of complimentory emails, you deserve many, many more. I’ve always loved bugs, mostly because my dad loved them, and I remember whole afternoons spent hunting for them with him, with the wonders and discoveries that I thought only a child could experience when seeing some strange multi-legged thing for the first time. Your site has proved me wrong, however, as I find myself browsing your images and explanations for whole afternoons…and loving every minute of it. What a wealth of information! I’m here every time I find a bug I’ve never seen, and then I stay even after identifying it because I know there are many more I haven’t seen in here. So first, KUDOS!
Now second. I’ve attached two pictures of what I believe to be ‘fishing spiders’, or at least spiders of the Dolomedes genus. We get these every year, and when I say these, I mean spiders galore, in the basement. And they are BIG! They don’t really bother me, I think they’re pretty cool actually, but I’m wondering about one thing: I live in Québec, Canada, and nowhere near water. I’m in the city and although there are woods behind the house, there is no pond, or stagnant water pool, or anything. Yet every year, they ‘appear’, full grown – I’ve never even seen spiderlings. One day there’s nothing, and the next, they’re everywhere. They don’t travel upstairs, but I find them more often than not in the litter box. Well camouflaged, too, I don’t see them until I scoop them up… So I guess my question is: are they really fishing spiders? Or are they something else? And if they are, what are they eating in my basement? And how do they get there?? The ones in the pictures are about the size of a credit card, but we’ve gotten bigger ones. I tend to release them in the wilderness, because although their venom might not be very strong, I have four cats and would not want spiders as part of their diet. My husband thinks they come up through the drain…Is that even possible? Anyway, I know you’re pretty busy with a lot of emails, and you might not get to answer me quickly – or at all, but I thought you might like the pictures for the site – although you have a lot of them already. In any case, thanks for all the great work, it really is appreciated!

Hello Christine,
Your kind letter just made our day. This is a Dolomedes species, the genus of spiders commonly called Fishing Spiders. Not all species, nor even all individuals are found near water. Dolomedes albineus is arboreal. The nearby woods are probably responsible for your spider population. At any rate, basements and cellars are generally damp dark places, and that is an ideal habitat for many spiders. They might be eating one another and they are probably doing a very good job of keeping your home free of other less desireable visitors. We suspect this is Dolomedes tenebrosus, which according to Wikipedia, exhibits female giganticism.

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Pisaurina Mira going for a dip
Hey Bug Man,
After yesterday’s encounter with a probable dolomedes, I spotted this little fellow in another area of the garden. It seems to be a pisaurina mira, and I think this photo shows off its distinctive markings quite well. I may have to invest in a macro lens. Cheers,

Hi Matt,
Thank you ever so much for sending in your Nursery Web Spider image. She is quite a beauty.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination