Currently viewing the category: "Nursery Web Spiders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

large NC spider in hollow tree
Dear WTB,
I have greatly enjoyed your website. I originally found it when trying to identify the spider in the attached picture. At least i think it was the same kind, because that time i did not get a picture of it. Several months later, amazingly, i saw another one and was able to get a decent picture of it. I live in Durham, NC, and both times i saw this type of spider it was in a local NC State Park (two different parks). Both were originally just outside the hole in a hollow tree. Both skittered back into the
tree in a sort of clicky, crablike, alien way. All i know about the first one is that it was BIG. This one has at least a 3 inch leg span, maybe 4. The first time i was too spooked out to get any closer, because i never got a chance to look at it while it was still. This time it lingered a little longer outside the hole, so i could see that it was at least a spider and not something from another planet. So i looked up in the hole and saw it beside a big white thing. As i was watching, it grabbed the white thing and moved further up in the tree (it was dark, so maybe i was mistaken and the white thing was attached to it / carried by it the whole time instead of beside it… all i know is… when the white thing moved with it, it freaked me out). My friend put his digital camera in the tree, pointed it upward, and blindly took several photographs with the flash. The attached picture turned out to be pretty good and i thought, given the size of what i can only assume is its egg ball, that you would at least find it interesting if you can’t tell me what it is. I thought the egg ball was at least quarter size, but i don’t even want to think about how huge that would make the spider. I’m going with “at least 3 inches” to be safe, since i know the mind can magnify these things in retrospect.
thanks in advance!
jonathan (and terry, the picture-snapper)

Hi Jonathan and Terry,
Fabulous image of a female Dolomedes Fishing Spider, also known as a Nursery Web Spider. These large spiders do not build webs, preferring to stalk their prey. They are usually found near water and can run across the water as well as dive beneath the surface where they can remain for a half an hour. They sometimes catch small fish. That is the eggsac she is carrying. She will protect it fearlessly. When the time comes she will spin a Nursery Web and deposit the eggsac. This is the only web she will spin.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Spider in the Poconos
Hi,
We found this spider on our deck in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and it appeared quite different than the typical brown spiders we see. Can you help us identify it?
Thanks,
Brian

Hi Brian,
This is a Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mira. Sometimes the Dolomedes Fishing Spiders are commonly called Nursery Web Spiders as well, and both genuses belong to the Family Pisauridae. These spiders do not build webs to capture prey. Instead they are hunting spiders. After the eggs are layed, the female carries the egg-sac with her and eventually builds a nursery web which she guards.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I think I’ve identified it on my own!
Thanks for your help!
x Danielle

Hi Danielle,
We are wondering what you think you have here. This is definitely a Dolomedes Fishing Spider. The silvery white line around the cephalothorax is a good indication this is Dolomedes triton, but the spots on the abdomen seem to be missing. That is still our best guess at a species identification as it doesn’t resemble any other Dolomedes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

spider/ brown anole carnage
Dear bugman-
We saw this spider kill a brown anole in a swamp in Big Cypress National Preserve. It was about 4- 4 1/2″ in diameter. We couldn’t figure out exactly what species it was, we were hoping you could help. These spiders are all over this part of the preserve, would they ever bother humans? We also just thought it was a cool picture for your website, we hope you use it. Thanks bugman.
Lisa and Jimi

Hi Lisa and Jimi,
Awesome photo of one of the Dolomedes Fishing Spiders. They walk on water and dive below the surface to catch fish as well as catching lizards on trees.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

fishing spider ?
Hi,
Just logged onto your neat site. I think I have a fishing spider here, but not sure what it’s carrying. Can you help me out.
Thank you, Al Chartier

Hi Al
Fishing Spiders in the genus Dolomedes belong to the larger Family Pisauridae, the Nursery-Web Weavers. The female spiders, according to Comstock: “From the time the egg-sac is made until the spiderlings are ready to emerge, the mother carries about with her, wherever she goes, this great silken ball with its load of eggs or of young. the difficulty of doing this can be seen by a glance at … [your photos]. The egg-sac is held under the body; and is so large thaqt the mother is forced to run on the tips of her tarsi in order to hold the load clear of obstructions. … Just before the young are ready to emerge from the egg-sac, or just after they begin to do so, the mother fastens it among leaves at the top of some herbaceous plant or at th end of a branch of a shrub, and builds a nursery about it by fastening the leaves together with a network of threaeds. She then remains on the outside of the nursery guarding the young.” Thank you for your wonderful contribution to our site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear Bugman,
I attached a picture of a spider I found while cleaning a pond in my backyard in southwest Louisiana. I thought it was one of the most beautiful spiders I’d ever seen- kind of a mossy green with blue spots on its abdomen. I did some research and I’m pretty sure it’s a diving spider because I watched it go under a couple of times. At one point I think it even attacked a fish. Do you know the specific name for it and any more info?
Thanks,
Fran

Hi Fran,
We are very excited by your letter and photo since the Six Spotted Fishing Spider is a new species for our site. Dolomedes triton is a beautiful spider and not easily confused with any other. It is greenish brown with silvery white lengthwise stripes along each side of the body. Abdomen has two rows of six white spots. It is found in slow moving streams and ponds. They eat small insects, tadpoles and fish. They are often found on water vegetation. According to Comstock: “This beautiful species is common in marshy places. It lives on plants over water, and dives freely when frightened, hiding under floating leaves. It is widely distributed, found in the east from New England to Texas, and is also known from across the northern part of the country in some of our western states and in Canada.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination