Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fishing Spider

Whitebanded Fishing Spider - Dolomedes albineus

As their name implies, fishing spiders are most commonly associated with water. Some species will almost always be found in or near the water. (They can walk on the water or dive under the surface when they want.) Other species of fishing spiders -- like this Whitebanded found on our porch -- range farther afield. None build webs to capture their prey, but rely on speed, stealth and their large size for successful stalking of food. This particular spider did quite well at capturing a moth under our porch light.

The fishing spiders are members of a larger family called Nursery-Web Spiders (Pisauridae). The female carries an egg sac containing hundreds of eggs. Shortly before the eggs are due to hatch, she removes the egg sac and attaches it to vegetation. Then, she builds a nursery web around the sac to help protect the newborn spiders, and stands guard nearby. The young spiders live in the nursery web for quite some time after hatching.

Source: University of Arkansas Entomology