White Banded Fishing Spider: Quick Facts & Care Tips

folder_openArachnida, Araneae
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The whitebanded fishing spider is a fascinating creature often found near or around aquatic habitats. As a member of the Dolomedes genus, these spiders are known for their unique hunting skills and interesting relationship with water. But not to worry, although they’re often associated with the wetlands, they can also be frequently found away from water, resting on tree trunks or walls.

As you explore more about this intriguing spider, you’ll discover its particular markings and variable hues of gray, tan, or rusty shades. One important aspect to note is their impressive ability to catch small fish and aquatic insects while walking on the water’s surface – a skill that has earned them the title of “fishing spiders.”

Classification and Scientific Name

Family: Pisauridae

The White Banded Fishing Spider belongs to the family Pisauridae. This family of spiders resides within the order Araneae, which contains thousands of spider species. Pisauridae spiders are known for their long legs and thinly built bodies, enabling them to be great hunters near aquatic environments.

Genus: Dolomedes

These spiders belong to the genus Dolomedes, which comprises about eight species in North America alone. Dolomedes spiders are unique as they primarily inhabit aquatic or wet habitats, with some even capable of walking on water using their hydrophobic legs. Here are some common features of the Dolomedes genus:

  • Semi-aquatic spiders
  • Commonly found near water
  • Long, hydrophobic legs for walking on water

Species: White Banded Fishing Spider

As for the species, the White Banded Fishing Spider is scientifically known as Dolomedes albineus. This particular species has markings and shading that can vary in appearance. Overall hues range from gray, tan, or rusty, and they are commonly distinguished by white bands along their bodies. The White Banded Fishing Spider can be found both near and away from water sources, often resting on vertical surfaces like tree trunks or walls.

To give you a better understanding, here’s a comparison table of the White Banded Fishing Spider’s classification:

Taxonomy Level Name
Order Araneae
Family Pisauridae
Genus Dolomedes
Species D. albineus

Now that you have a better understanding of the classification, scientific name, and key characteristics of the White Banded Fishing Spider, remember to keep an eye out for these unique creatures near your local water sources or even on tree trunks and walls.

Identification and Description

Physical Description

The White Banded Fishing Spider is a type of spider that can be easily recognized by its unique physical features. These spiders have a robust body, long legs, and a distinct appearance, making them easy to identify among other types of spiders.

Markings and Color

The markings on White Banded Fishing Spiders are one of the key features that help in their identification. They sport a combination of gray, rusty, brown, tan, and yellowish colors. One notable characteristic is the presence of a white band on their chelicerae (jaws), which gives them their name. Additionally, these spiders often have black spots on their legs and body and stiff hairs on their chelicerae.


White Banded Fishing Spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism in terms of size, meaning males and females differ in their dimensions. Females typically grow larger, reaching around ⅞ inch in size, while males are smaller, measuring up to ⅝ inch.

By understanding important aspects like physical description, markings, and size of the White Banded Fishing Spider, you can easily identify and appreciate these fascinating creatures.

Habitat and Distribution

North America

The whitebanded fishing spider is one of eight species in the genus Dolomedes found in North America. They are distributed throughout the United States, mainly in wet or aquatic habitats.

Cypress Swamps

Whitebanded fishing spiders are often seen in cypress swamps. These environments provide ample hiding places and abundant prey for the spiders to thrive. You may spot them resting on tree trunks or other surfaces while hunting.


Streams are another common habitat for these incredible spiders. They can walk on the water’s surface, using their long legs to navigate quickly. This ability allows them to capture small fish and aquatic insects as they feed.

Moist Areas

When away from water, whitebanded fishing spiders still prefer moist areas, which provide suitable conditions for their ambush prey hunting technique. You might see them in damp forests, resting on vertical surfaces like walls or tree trunks.

Remember, these spiders may exhibit variable markings and shading. They can have a gray, tan, or rusty hue, blending in with their surroundings. This adaptability helps them succeed in various habitats throughout North America.

Feeding Behavior and Diet

Aquatic Insects

The whitebanded fishing spider is known to prey on a variety of aquatic insects. They use their excellent vision and hunting skills to locate and capture their prey near water sources. For example, they can catch insects like water striders and tadpoles that reside on the water surface.

Small Fish

Aside from aquatic insects, fishing spiders also feed on small fish. These skilled hunters patiently wait for an opportunity to snatch their prey. As they walk on the water surface, they can detect vibrations of small fish and swiftly capture them. This remarkable ability allows the spider to add more variety to its diet.


Whitebanded fishing spiders aren’t just limited to aquatic habitats; they’re also found away from water, resting on vertical surfaces like tree trunks or walls. In these environments, they hunt other arthropods such as insects, spiders, and small invertebrates. This adaptability allows the whitebanded fishing spider to thrive in diverse conditions and maintain a diverse diet.

To sum up, a whitebanded fishing spider’s diet mainly consists of aquatic insects, small fish, and other arthropods. Whether near water sources or resting on vertical surfaces, these spiders showcase incredible skill and adaptability in capturing their prey.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Egg Sac

White-banded fishing spiders create egg sacs to protect their eggs. Females build these sacs from silk and carry them around, secured to their spinnerets. The sacs usually contain 30-100 eggs, providing a safe environment for the spiderlings to develop.


Once the eggs hatch, the spiderlings emerge from the sac. For the first few days, they remain nearby their mother. After their initial molt, the spiderlings disperse, gradually growing and molting several times before reaching adulthood. As they grow, they learn to hunt and survive in their aquatic habitat.


Mating in white-banded fishing spiders is a risky business. The process begins when the male approaches the female, signaling his intention to mate by tapping her legs. They move from courtship to copulation, but the male must remain cautious. If the female senses danger or becomes aggressive, she might eat the male.

White-banded fishing spiders have a relatively short lifespan. Males live for around six months, while females can live up to one year after reaching adulthood. Throughout their life, they play a vital role in controlling insect populations in their aquatic habitats.

Interaction with Humans


The white banded fishing spider is not known to be aggressive towards humans. However, in rare cases, it might bite when it feels threatened. The bite itself is not severe and usually results in mild swelling, redness, and itching. To minimize any potential adverse effects, you can:

  • Clean the bite area with soap and water.
  • Apply ice or a cold compress to reduce swelling.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers if necessary.

It is important to note that the white banded fishing spider is not venomous to humans, so the bite is usually harmless.

Pest-Control Services

White banded fishing spiders can provide natural pest-control services in your garden or backyard. They prey on various insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and moths. By doing so, they help maintain a balanced ecosystem and reduce the need for using chemical insecticides. Here are some benefits of having these spiders around:

  • They are natural predators of common pests.
  • They do not pose a threat to humans or pets.
  • They contribute to a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

Next time you spot a white banded fishing spider, remember that they can be your ally in maintaining a pest-free outdoor space. So, instead of being alarmed, consider appreciating their natural pest-control role in the environment.

Comparison with Similar Species

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery web spiders (Pisaurina spp.) are closely related to fishing spiders and are often found near water. They have long, slender legs and similar body shapes. However, their coloring and patterns are different, with nursery web spiders typically sporting more distinct markings on their bodies. Some key differences include:

  • Nursery web spiders carry their egg sacs with their mouthparts, while fishing spiders like the whitebanded fishing spider wrap them beneath their bodies.
  • Nursery web spiders construct delicate silk tents to protect their eggs, while fishing spiders don’t build any webs.

Dark Fishing Spider

Dark fishing spiders (Dolomedes tenebrosus) are another member of the fishing spider genus. They are larger than whitebanded fishing spiders and are usually found closer to water. These spiders share similar behavior and habits, such as walking on water and catching small fish and insects. The primary difference is in their appearance, with dark fishing spiders featuring a more uniform dark coloration.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders (Lycosidae) are another group of large, hunting spiders, but they are not closely related to fishing spiders. They have a more robust body shape and shorter legs compared to fishing spiders. Some characteristics to distinguish them include:

  • Wolf spiders have a more camouflaged appearance, blending in better with their environment.
  • They rely more on their speed and agility to catch prey, rather than an ambush approach like fishing spiders.

Grass Spiders and Funnel Weavers

Grass spiders (Agelenidae) and funnel weavers are often found in grassy areas and gardens and build funnel-shaped webs to catch their prey. Their legs are shorter than fishing spiders, and their bodies are usually flatter. Unlike fishing spiders, they rely on their web-building skills to catch prey and rarely venture far from their webs. Some key features include:

  • Funnel weaver spiders have a distinct line pattern on their abdomen, making them easy to identify.
  • Grass spiders are more abundant in grassy areas, whereas fishing spiders prefer wet or aquatic habitats.

Miscellaneous Information

The white banded fishing spider is an interesting invertebrate that’s often associated with aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats. They belong to the genus Dolomedes and can be found in North America, north of Mexico1.

These spiders are unique in their ability to sense vibrations on the water’s surface, helping them locate and capture their prey, which typically consists of small insects and aquatic invertebrates. They are also known to rest on vertical surfaces, such as tree trunks or walls1.

Their adult body color can vary, ranging from gray, tan, to rusty hues. The white banded fishing spider is also quite adaptable to different weather conditions, making them more versatile than many other spider species1.

Here are some features of the white banded fishing spider:

  • Associated with aquatic or semi-aquatic habitats
  • Sensitive to vibrations on the water’s surface
  • Capable of capturing small insects and aquatic invertebrates
  • Adaptable to different weather conditions

The white banded fishing spider is taxonomically classified under the family Pisauridae1. One unique feature of these spiders is their spinnerets, which they use to produce silk for their webs.

To learn more about the white banded fishing spider and how to identify them, you can refer to this helpful guide.

Remember that when observing these fascinating creatures, it’s important to be respectful of their environment and to let them go about their daily activities undisturbed.


  1. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/whitebanded-fishing-spider 2 3 4


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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