Fishing Spider

As promised, click the link below to witness the biggest damn spider I have ever encountered not under glass. Not for the sqeamish. That said, however, this is an amazing creature, and if you ask me it is worth a look.

Dolomedes tenebrosus

You really ought to click the thumb and have a look at the full-size photo to get the immersive effect. This spider is as big as my palm. The tiger-stripe pattern on her abdomen and legs is beautiful. In the bigger version, you can see she’s guarding an egg sac, from which a couple of wee baby fishing spiders have already emerged. Aren’t they cute? Also, you’ll notice she’s only got seven legs. The other one must have gotten ripped off, though she doesn’t seem much to care.

Fishing spiders are pretty amazing. Not only can they walk on water the way a water strider does, riding the surface tension using two legs as oars, but they can also “gallop” over the top of the water like a jesus lizard–breaking the surface tension, but moving over it fast enough (three feet per second) not to fall through. They prey on other bugs that land on the surface of the water by injecting them with paralysis venom and then dragging them back to land. They are also capable of reaching through the surface and picking off tadpoles and even fish.



  1. That’s amazing as is the info. Only once in my life have I encountered a spider that large, when I was at summer camp in Wisconsin. It was crawling up a curtain in our little theater and brought the entire rehearsal of “Snow White” to a literally screaming halt.

    The nun (yes, a Catholic camp) directing us tried to be nonchalant but none of us would go back to the stage. I looked up the spider later in an encyclopedia, I think it was a wolf spider.

    In other gargantuan spider sightings–a friend of mine lived in Northern Minnesota and had an outhouse inhabited by large (not this large, but plenty big) spiders. Needless to say, it made visits a bit–tense.

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