White Banded Fishing Spider: Quick Facts and Care Tips

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.

Size

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

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.

Arthropods

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.

Spiderlings

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

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

Bite

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.

Footnotes

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

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

6 inch white furry spider
I love your site. It’s fascinating as well as informative, my children and I love viewing it since discovering it while trying to find information on the following: This spider hangs out on our back porch, putting in an appearance about once a week. We live in the woods near Tallahassee, Florida. Needless to say there is never a shortage of insects, amphibians or reptilians in our neck of the woods. But I have never seen a spider like this, altho it does resemble my pet Chilean Rosehair with the exception of having a flatter profile. It is about six inches long, fuzzy, and attractively marked. It seems very placid and docile, allowing me to get very close to take these pictures. Online searches for white spiders have yielded nothing. Can you help us? Thank you so much for your time!!
Laurie Ryan

Hi Laurie,
What a positively gorgeous specimen of a White Banded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus. We have never seen a specimen quite this white before. Dolomedes Fishing Spiders are harmless, and quite fascinating spiders. Many species are quite aquatic, and capable of diving beneath the surface of the water to capture small fish and other aquatic creatures. The White Banded Fishing Spider is not one of the more aquatic species. It is generally found in trees.

Letter 2 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Is this a fishing spider?
Location: Plains GA, Southwest GA
July 28, 2012 1:01 pm
I was cleaning out a tool shed and this little spider came running out from under some car ramps I picked up. Gave me quit the startle as s/he is very fast. It can also jump somewhere between 1 to 2 feet from what I witnessed. It was about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. Could you confirm this is fishing spider? If so, what do they eat and such?
Signature: Thanks, Anthony

White Banded Fishing Spider

Hi Anthony,
While we find all Fishing Spiders beautiful, the White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, like the individual in your photograph, is the one we personally find the most beautiful.  Fishing Spiders will eat insects, other spiders and small vertebrates if they can catch them.  Those species that are found close to water are capable of catching small fish, tadpoles and other aquatic creatures.  The White Banded Fishing Spider is not one of the species that is typically found close to water.  BugGuide provides very little specific information on the White Banded Fishing Spider.

Letter 3 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  White Banded Fishing Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Montgomery, TX in forest.
Date: 07/06/2018
Time: 05:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
Just thought you might like to add this picture to the article you have about the white banded fishing spider. This thing is huge and hangs out on our back porch up on the bricks and assists with bug control. He or she is very white and I found it strange just how white it really is.
How you want your letter signed:  Casey Ellison

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Casey,
Your images of a White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, are positively gorgeous.  Not all White-Banded Fishing Spiders have such a light coloration, and BugGuide indicates:  “Generally an ID can be made by the white band along the ‘face’ (clypeus).”

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Letter 4 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Wolf Spider?
Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 12:36 PM
Is this a kind of wolf spider? It was on the floor of an old garage and moved very quickly. It was almost the size of a compact disc with legs outreached. Body was about size of bottle cap.
JR
USA, northeast

White Banded Fishing Spider
White Banded Fishing Spider

Hi JR,
This is a Dolomedes Fishing Spider, not a Wolf Spider. Fishing Spiders are in the Nursery Web Spider group, and like Wolf Spiders, they are hunting spiders and not snare web building spiders. We believe your specimen is a White Banded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus, based on an image posted to BugGuide. Your location, USA, northeast, is a bit vague. BugGuide lists sightings as far north as Delaware, but that doesn’t mean the species is unknown in New England. If this is not the White Banded Fishing Spider, it is another member of the genus Dolomedes.

Thanks Daniel, very interesting!  I am sorry about the vague location.  I
found it in Norridgewock, Maine, about 40 minutes north from Augusta and 1.5
hours north from Portland.
Thanks again, Jim

Letter 5 – Three Spiders catch Prey: Six Spotted Fishing Spider and Jumping Spider are Cannibals!!!

 

Food chain/spider cannibalism pics–jumping spiders and water spider
September 9, 2009
Hi,
I thought you guys might like these pictures. The first one is a tiny jumping spider (5mm) I found eating a small fly or winged aphid in my backyard (central Oklahoma) this summer.

Jumping Spider eats winged insect (Aphid perhaps)
Jumping Spider eats winged insect (Aphid perhaps)

The second picture is a jumping spider (1cm) I found eating a smaller jumping spider (5mm). This was taken at my aunt’s house (also in central Oklahoma).

Jumping Spider Cannibalism
Jumping Spider Cannibalism

The third picture was taken last summer.  I was walking around my aunt’s pond when I spotted this water spider (2 in.). As I watched him, he ran across the surface of the water and attacked a smaller water spider (1cm), and then started eating him before my eyes. I’m sorry that the third picture isn’t very clear (I had to crop and brighten it so that you could see the little spider, and that greatly reduced the resolution). Thanks for the awesome site, and keep up the good work.
Josh Kouri

Six Spotted Fishing Spider:  Cannibalistic Behavior
Six Spotted Fishing Spider: Cannibalistic Behavior

Hi Josh,
We always appreciate your submissions.  We are especially thrilled with your photo of a Six Spotted Fishing Spider, Dolomedes triton, one of the most aquatic of a genus known collectively as Fishing Spiders.  Your Fishing Spider was not as degraded as you indicated, but it would be best to submit camera quality images since we inevitably adjust levels and correct quality before posting anyways.

Letter 6 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

(9/12/2003)
We usually have lots of neat spiders here in South Texas, but this beautiful visitor amazed us. Never before seen on our house. Note that the trim boards are 1 by 2 inches so she is quite sizable but not as large as the Golden Orb spiders we have in abundance. We are thinking she is a “fishing spider” of some sort but the house is a half mile from the cattle ponds. What do you think she is?
Thanks!!
JD

White Banded Fishing Spider

Wow, JD,
That is one handsome spider. I think you are correct that it is a type of fishing spider, probably Dolomedes albineus or tenebrosus.

Letter 7 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Spider Identification
Location: Burlington, North Carolina
September 9, 2012 7:14 pm
What kind of spider is this?
Signature: Huh?

Whitebanded Fishing Spider

Dear Huh?,
This is a Whitebanded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus.  The markings are variable but your individual matches this example on BugGuide.

Letter 8 – White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey

 

Subject: Giant Striped Spider Feasting on Beetle!
Location: Goose Creek, SC
August 1, 2013 10:09 pm
Hello Bug-People! Tonight (Aug 1) I found a giant spider eating dinner on my laundry room door jamb. This thing is HUGE! Easily 3” in diameter. Looking through your archives I suspect it is a Fishing Spider. Am I right? Thanks for your help as always and I hope you enjoy the pictures; it is quite a handsome specimen.
Signature: Kerry Bateman

White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey
White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey

Dear Kerry,
We surely hope you did not take our tardy response time as an indication of any lack of enthusiasm on our part.  We had been away from the office beginning July 30 and we did not respond to any identification requests for 2 1/2 weeks.  “Handsome” is an understatement.  This is a gorgeous Fishing Spider, most likely a White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, based on this image posted to BugGuide.

Eye Arrangement of White Banded Fishing Spider
Eye Arrangement of White Banded Fishing Spider

One of the best ways to identify spiders to the family level is by the eye arrangement.  If we zoom in, they eyes on this beauty clearly match the Dolomedes eye arrangement pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 9 – White Banded Fishing Spider and Green Lynx Spider

 

Subject: White Banded Fishing Spider and a Pink Green Lynx
Location: Carthage NC
March 11, 2014 10:04 am
while looking around for ways to identified this tow , I found your side ! I take photos of insect for my own intellectual enrichment . base on other search I have done I believe I identified this tow (White Banded Fishing Spider and a Pink Green Lynx) correctly but Is always great to ask to the experts 🙂 I really appreciate your help ! Kary Clark
PS: Loving the side and all the information and interaction with others.
Signature: Kary Clark

Whitebanded Fishing Spider
White Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Kary,
You have sent us photos of two of our five favorite North American Spiders.  We think the White Banded Fishing Spiders are the most beautiful North American Spiders, and the maternal care given to the young earns them the family name Nursery Web Spiders.  The Green Lynx is one of the most amazing hunters.  They lie in wait, camouflaged on rose bushes and other green shrubbery, and then they leap upon their prey.  Green Lynx Spiders also fiercely guard their young.

Green Lynx Spider
Green Lynx Spider

Thank you for the info! it made me smile that you guys even saw this photos that quickly!

Letter 10 – Long Legged Fishing Spider from Honduras

 

Subject: Honduras- Spider
Location: El Ocote, Honduras
November 19, 2014 7:35 pm
HI, I visited the forests of Honduras and came across this beautiful spider! The body was easily the size of my palm, and its legs longer than my fingers!!! It was on a rock, that was in the middle of a creek. This was in easternHonduras, in the forests outside the small community of El Ocote.
The back part of the body had mostly black, but was fat and round. The legs were banded with black and brown stripes.
This beauty was easily larger than my hand when we took the legs into account. No web that I could see.
Sadly I asked our military escort to grab this pic and we couldn’t get much closer due to the creek and safety reasons…. when i asked him what type this was, all he said was spider in Spanish.
Signature: Curious Traveler

Unknown Spider
Long Legged Fishing Spider

Dear Curious Traveler,
Your image is too blurry for an identification.

Can you identify this Spider?
or if not,any educated guesses?
A better description is as follows:
Long thin legs with alternating black and brown bands, each leg aprox  6 inches long.
Abdomen/body aprox 4 inches long.
Fangs were aprox half an inch.
The  main body was just a  plain brown and then the back part of the body was all brown with no markings then it faded to black, no markings again.
Location: found on a rock in the middle of a creek  in the woods about 45 mins outside the village of El Ocote in eastern Honduras. NO web nearby.
Time: middle of afternoon aprox 12noon, on august 25th 2014.

We will post your blurry image and give our readership a chance at identification.

Update:  Long Legged Fishing Spider
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash who runs our sister site Insetologia out of Brazil, we believe this is a Long Legged Fishing Spider in the family Trechaleidae.  Both the shape of the spider and the behavior that is described in the submission fit for this family.

Oh wow thank you! I’m sorry I could not get a better picture but it is nice to get an idea 🙂
Looking up pics online and it does look a lot like the spider. The body in the back is slightly off, but  I think that may have been it! Thank you!

Update from Karl:  December 17, 2014
Hi Daniel and Curious Traveler:
Regarding the poster’s comment that the “body in the back is slightly off”, it’s because his/her photo is of a female carrying an egg sac. Trechaleid spiders produce a rather distinctive flat, disc-shaped and camouflaged egg sac that the females carry around attached to the underside of her abdomen. Regards.  Karl

Thanks Karl,
If Curious Traveler had taken an image with the high quality of the link you provided, it would have made identification considerably easier.

Letter 11 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Dark Fishing spider?
Location: Ruffin, SC
August 11, 2017 3:33 am
Found her on my curtains last night before going to bed. Wondering if this beautiful spider was a dark fishing spider?
Signature: Melissa

Whitebanded Fishing Spider

Dear Melissa,
We need to begin by telling you we are really impressed that you found this large spider in your home and you were still able to go to bed.  We are also impressed that you agree it is beautiful.  In our opinion, this is a Whitebanded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Generally an ID can be made by the white band along the ‘face’ (clypeus).”

Letter 12 – Probably White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  What is this beautiful spider?
Geographic location of the bug:  Cumming, GA
Date: 04/14/2018
Time: 11:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was watering the plants in my garden and saw a bizarre pattern on my apple tree.  As I got closer I couldn’t decide if it was part of the tree or if it was a really well camouflaged bug.  I had to get really close to see that it was a spider!  I have never seen anything like it.  It was perfectly blended into the bark of the tree.  What is this amazing spider?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in GA

Probably White Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Curious in GA,
This magnificent spider is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, and we believe it is a White Banded Fishing Spider because of its resemblance to the individual in this image posted to BugGuide.

Letter 13 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  Pretty picture you might like
Geographic location of the bug:  Griffin Georgia
Date: 07/25/2018
Time: 08:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! Found a beautiful white banded fishing spider I thought you might appreciate!
How you want your letter signed:  Jennifer

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Jennifer,
Thanks for sending in your image of what does appear to be a White-Banded Fishing Spider.

Letter 14 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  Dolomedes (?) with odd markings?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hawthorne, Florida
Date: 06/22/2020
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this large lady on the Hathorne trail, resting on a beam of a small bridge that crosses a tributary to Lake Lochloosa.  Looks like Dolomedes to me but can’t find any images with same striking combination of markings.  Maybe some odd form of D. albineus?  She is probably 5-6″ (8″ support beam she’s resting on), 20-June-2020.
How you want your letter signed:  Reuben

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Reuben,
We agree that this is a Fishing Spider, and it is most likely
Dolomedes albineus.  Here is a very similar looking individual (also from Florida) pictured on BugGuide.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

6 inch white furry spider
I love your site. It’s fascinating as well as informative, my children and I love viewing it since discovering it while trying to find information on the following: This spider hangs out on our back porch, putting in an appearance about once a week. We live in the woods near Tallahassee, Florida. Needless to say there is never a shortage of insects, amphibians or reptilians in our neck of the woods. But I have never seen a spider like this, altho it does resemble my pet Chilean Rosehair with the exception of having a flatter profile. It is about six inches long, fuzzy, and attractively marked. It seems very placid and docile, allowing me to get very close to take these pictures. Online searches for white spiders have yielded nothing. Can you help us? Thank you so much for your time!!
Laurie Ryan

Hi Laurie,
What a positively gorgeous specimen of a White Banded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus. We have never seen a specimen quite this white before. Dolomedes Fishing Spiders are harmless, and quite fascinating spiders. Many species are quite aquatic, and capable of diving beneath the surface of the water to capture small fish and other aquatic creatures. The White Banded Fishing Spider is not one of the more aquatic species. It is generally found in trees.

Letter 2 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Is this a fishing spider?
Location: Plains GA, Southwest GA
July 28, 2012 1:01 pm
I was cleaning out a tool shed and this little spider came running out from under some car ramps I picked up. Gave me quit the startle as s/he is very fast. It can also jump somewhere between 1 to 2 feet from what I witnessed. It was about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. Could you confirm this is fishing spider? If so, what do they eat and such?
Signature: Thanks, Anthony

White Banded Fishing Spider

Hi Anthony,
While we find all Fishing Spiders beautiful, the White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, like the individual in your photograph, is the one we personally find the most beautiful.  Fishing Spiders will eat insects, other spiders and small vertebrates if they can catch them.  Those species that are found close to water are capable of catching small fish, tadpoles and other aquatic creatures.  The White Banded Fishing Spider is not one of the species that is typically found close to water.  BugGuide provides very little specific information on the White Banded Fishing Spider.

Letter 3 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  White Banded Fishing Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Montgomery, TX in forest.
Date: 07/06/2018
Time: 05:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
Just thought you might like to add this picture to the article you have about the white banded fishing spider. This thing is huge and hangs out on our back porch up on the bricks and assists with bug control. He or she is very white and I found it strange just how white it really is.
How you want your letter signed:  Casey Ellison

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Casey,
Your images of a White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, are positively gorgeous.  Not all White-Banded Fishing Spiders have such a light coloration, and BugGuide indicates:  “Generally an ID can be made by the white band along the ‘face’ (clypeus).”

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Letter 4 – White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Wolf Spider?
Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 12:36 PM
Is this a kind of wolf spider? It was on the floor of an old garage and moved very quickly. It was almost the size of a compact disc with legs outreached. Body was about size of bottle cap.
JR
USA, northeast

White Banded Fishing Spider
White Banded Fishing Spider

Hi JR,
This is a Dolomedes Fishing Spider, not a Wolf Spider. Fishing Spiders are in the Nursery Web Spider group, and like Wolf Spiders, they are hunting spiders and not snare web building spiders. We believe your specimen is a White Banded Fishing Spider, Dolomedes albineus, based on an image posted to BugGuide. Your location, USA, northeast, is a bit vague. BugGuide lists sightings as far north as Delaware, but that doesn’t mean the species is unknown in New England. If this is not the White Banded Fishing Spider, it is another member of the genus Dolomedes.

Thanks Daniel, very interesting!  I am sorry about the vague location.  I
found it in Norridgewock, Maine, about 40 minutes north from Augusta and 1.5
hours north from Portland.
Thanks again, Jim

Letter 5 – Three Spiders catch Prey: Six Spotted Fishing Spider and Jumping Spider are Cannibals!!!

 

Food chain/spider cannibalism pics–jumping spiders and water spider
September 9, 2009
Hi,
I thought you guys might like these pictures. The first one is a tiny jumping spider (5mm) I found eating a small fly or winged aphid in my backyard (central Oklahoma) this summer.

Jumping Spider eats winged insect (Aphid perhaps)
Jumping Spider eats winged insect (Aphid perhaps)

The second picture is a jumping spider (1cm) I found eating a smaller jumping spider (5mm). This was taken at my aunt’s house (also in central Oklahoma).

Jumping Spider Cannibalism
Jumping Spider Cannibalism

The third picture was taken last summer.  I was walking around my aunt’s pond when I spotted this water spider (2 in.). As I watched him, he ran across the surface of the water and attacked a smaller water spider (1cm), and then started eating him before my eyes. I’m sorry that the third picture isn’t very clear (I had to crop and brighten it so that you could see the little spider, and that greatly reduced the resolution). Thanks for the awesome site, and keep up the good work.
Josh Kouri

Six Spotted Fishing Spider:  Cannibalistic Behavior
Six Spotted Fishing Spider: Cannibalistic Behavior

Hi Josh,
We always appreciate your submissions.  We are especially thrilled with your photo of a Six Spotted Fishing Spider, Dolomedes triton, one of the most aquatic of a genus known collectively as Fishing Spiders.  Your Fishing Spider was not as degraded as you indicated, but it would be best to submit camera quality images since we inevitably adjust levels and correct quality before posting anyways.

Letter 6 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

(9/12/2003)
We usually have lots of neat spiders here in South Texas, but this beautiful visitor amazed us. Never before seen on our house. Note that the trim boards are 1 by 2 inches so she is quite sizable but not as large as the Golden Orb spiders we have in abundance. We are thinking she is a “fishing spider” of some sort but the house is a half mile from the cattle ponds. What do you think she is?
Thanks!!
JD

White Banded Fishing Spider

Wow, JD,
That is one handsome spider. I think you are correct that it is a type of fishing spider, probably Dolomedes albineus or tenebrosus.

Letter 7 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Spider Identification
Location: Burlington, North Carolina
September 9, 2012 7:14 pm
What kind of spider is this?
Signature: Huh?

Whitebanded Fishing Spider

Dear Huh?,
This is a Whitebanded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus.  The markings are variable but your individual matches this example on BugGuide.

Letter 8 – White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey

 

Subject: Giant Striped Spider Feasting on Beetle!
Location: Goose Creek, SC
August 1, 2013 10:09 pm
Hello Bug-People! Tonight (Aug 1) I found a giant spider eating dinner on my laundry room door jamb. This thing is HUGE! Easily 3” in diameter. Looking through your archives I suspect it is a Fishing Spider. Am I right? Thanks for your help as always and I hope you enjoy the pictures; it is quite a handsome specimen.
Signature: Kerry Bateman

White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey
White Banded Fishing Spider with Prey

Dear Kerry,
We surely hope you did not take our tardy response time as an indication of any lack of enthusiasm on our part.  We had been away from the office beginning July 30 and we did not respond to any identification requests for 2 1/2 weeks.  “Handsome” is an understatement.  This is a gorgeous Fishing Spider, most likely a White Banded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, based on this image posted to BugGuide.

Eye Arrangement of White Banded Fishing Spider
Eye Arrangement of White Banded Fishing Spider

One of the best ways to identify spiders to the family level is by the eye arrangement.  If we zoom in, they eyes on this beauty clearly match the Dolomedes eye arrangement pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 9 – White Banded Fishing Spider and Green Lynx Spider

 

Subject: White Banded Fishing Spider and a Pink Green Lynx
Location: Carthage NC
March 11, 2014 10:04 am
while looking around for ways to identified this tow , I found your side ! I take photos of insect for my own intellectual enrichment . base on other search I have done I believe I identified this tow (White Banded Fishing Spider and a Pink Green Lynx) correctly but Is always great to ask to the experts 🙂 I really appreciate your help ! Kary Clark
PS: Loving the side and all the information and interaction with others.
Signature: Kary Clark

Whitebanded Fishing Spider
White Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Kary,
You have sent us photos of two of our five favorite North American Spiders.  We think the White Banded Fishing Spiders are the most beautiful North American Spiders, and the maternal care given to the young earns them the family name Nursery Web Spiders.  The Green Lynx is one of the most amazing hunters.  They lie in wait, camouflaged on rose bushes and other green shrubbery, and then they leap upon their prey.  Green Lynx Spiders also fiercely guard their young.

Green Lynx Spider
Green Lynx Spider

Thank you for the info! it made me smile that you guys even saw this photos that quickly!

Letter 10 – Long Legged Fishing Spider from Honduras

 

Subject: Honduras- Spider
Location: El Ocote, Honduras
November 19, 2014 7:35 pm
HI, I visited the forests of Honduras and came across this beautiful spider! The body was easily the size of my palm, and its legs longer than my fingers!!! It was on a rock, that was in the middle of a creek. This was in easternHonduras, in the forests outside the small community of El Ocote.
The back part of the body had mostly black, but was fat and round. The legs were banded with black and brown stripes.
This beauty was easily larger than my hand when we took the legs into account. No web that I could see.
Sadly I asked our military escort to grab this pic and we couldn’t get much closer due to the creek and safety reasons…. when i asked him what type this was, all he said was spider in Spanish.
Signature: Curious Traveler

Unknown Spider
Long Legged Fishing Spider

Dear Curious Traveler,
Your image is too blurry for an identification.

Can you identify this Spider?
or if not,any educated guesses?
A better description is as follows:
Long thin legs with alternating black and brown bands, each leg aprox  6 inches long.
Abdomen/body aprox 4 inches long.
Fangs were aprox half an inch.
The  main body was just a  plain brown and then the back part of the body was all brown with no markings then it faded to black, no markings again.
Location: found on a rock in the middle of a creek  in the woods about 45 mins outside the village of El Ocote in eastern Honduras. NO web nearby.
Time: middle of afternoon aprox 12noon, on august 25th 2014.

We will post your blurry image and give our readership a chance at identification.

Update:  Long Legged Fishing Spider
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash who runs our sister site Insetologia out of Brazil, we believe this is a Long Legged Fishing Spider in the family Trechaleidae.  Both the shape of the spider and the behavior that is described in the submission fit for this family.

Oh wow thank you! I’m sorry I could not get a better picture but it is nice to get an idea 🙂
Looking up pics online and it does look a lot like the spider. The body in the back is slightly off, but  I think that may have been it! Thank you!

Update from Karl:  December 17, 2014
Hi Daniel and Curious Traveler:
Regarding the poster’s comment that the “body in the back is slightly off”, it’s because his/her photo is of a female carrying an egg sac. Trechaleid spiders produce a rather distinctive flat, disc-shaped and camouflaged egg sac that the females carry around attached to the underside of her abdomen. Regards.  Karl

Thanks Karl,
If Curious Traveler had taken an image with the high quality of the link you provided, it would have made identification considerably easier.

Letter 11 – Whitebanded Fishing Spider

 

Subject: Dark Fishing spider?
Location: Ruffin, SC
August 11, 2017 3:33 am
Found her on my curtains last night before going to bed. Wondering if this beautiful spider was a dark fishing spider?
Signature: Melissa

Whitebanded Fishing Spider

Dear Melissa,
We need to begin by telling you we are really impressed that you found this large spider in your home and you were still able to go to bed.  We are also impressed that you agree it is beautiful.  In our opinion, this is a Whitebanded Fishing Spider,
Dolomedes albineus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Generally an ID can be made by the white band along the ‘face’ (clypeus).”

Letter 12 – Probably White Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  What is this beautiful spider?
Geographic location of the bug:  Cumming, GA
Date: 04/14/2018
Time: 11:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was watering the plants in my garden and saw a bizarre pattern on my apple tree.  As I got closer I couldn’t decide if it was part of the tree or if it was a really well camouflaged bug.  I had to get really close to see that it was a spider!  I have never seen anything like it.  It was perfectly blended into the bark of the tree.  What is this amazing spider?
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in GA

Probably White Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Curious in GA,
This magnificent spider is a Fishing Spider in the genus Dolomedes, and we believe it is a White Banded Fishing Spider because of its resemblance to the individual in this image posted to BugGuide.

Letter 13 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  Pretty picture you might like
Geographic location of the bug:  Griffin Georgia
Date: 07/25/2018
Time: 08:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! Found a beautiful white banded fishing spider I thought you might appreciate!
How you want your letter signed:  Jennifer

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Jennifer,
Thanks for sending in your image of what does appear to be a White-Banded Fishing Spider.

Letter 14 – White-Banded Fishing Spider

 

Subject:  Dolomedes (?) with odd markings?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hawthorne, Florida
Date: 06/22/2020
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this large lady on the Hathorne trail, resting on a beam of a small bridge that crosses a tributary to Lake Lochloosa.  Looks like Dolomedes to me but can’t find any images with same striking combination of markings.  Maybe some odd form of D. albineus?  She is probably 5-6″ (8″ support beam she’s resting on), 20-June-2020.
How you want your letter signed:  Reuben

White-Banded Fishing Spider

Dear Reuben,
We agree that this is a Fishing Spider, and it is most likely
Dolomedes albineus.  Here is a very similar looking individual (also from Florida) pictured on BugGuide.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • 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.

  • 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.

8 thoughts on “White Banded Fishing Spider: Quick Facts and Care Tips”

  1. This beauty is indeed a “wolf spider,” and likely the species Hogna baltimoriana. Wolf spiders and fishing spiders are often confused for one another; typically wolf spiders are found on horizontal surfaces (mainly the ground), whereas fishing spiders occupy vertical planes like tree trunks. If/when someone is close enough to see the eyes, the two types are very different, so that helps for identification, too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this correction on an old posting Mandy. We are a bit better now than then and we don’t think we would have gotten the family wrong if we had received this submission this year.

      Reply
  2. I have one of these large white fuzzy spiders in my satsuma tree and had a hard time finding out online what type of spider it was. Thank you for your post and info.(I have a pic & tried to include it, but it didn’t paste into comment):-)

    Reply
  3. I saw one of these on the surface of the river behind my house when kayaking. Thought it was a dead lily head when I was reaching for a floating water bottle and nearly capsized myself when it ‘stood up’ and skittered under the overhanging shore foliage. Between 5-6″ and very light light like this one, which is why I mistook it for a bruised white lily head.

    Reply

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