Fishing Spiders

Subscribe via RSS

Filed under Outdoor Notes

July 10, 2010

Our largest and most common fishing spider is Dolomedes triton. I’m not sure that they actually have a common name; they used to be called the Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes sexpunctatus), but I guess some arachnologist finally got around to counting spots and realized there were a durn site more than six.

Dolomedes triton

Fishing Spider with prey

The hairs on fishing spiders actually repel water. They can submerge themselves and breathe the oxygen trapped in the bubble that adheres to their body. They hunt from ambush, feeling for the vibrations that indicate that some small creature is caught in the surface tension. They can also, apparently, tell the difference in the vibration of a fish small enough to capture and eat and a fish large enough to capture and eat a spider–handy bit of information.

Note that this spider has captured a female damselfly–I believe it is one of the Forktails (Ischnura spp.). She was probably in the middle of laying eggs. Insect “blood” (aka hemolymph) is usually green in color. Notice that the damselflies eyes are a dead white. A living Forktail would have brightly colored eyes–some shade of blue or green, depending on age, sex, and species. I suspect that those bright colors were literally sucked out by the spider, which is a pierce, suck,¬†and drain feeder.

Tags: , , , ,

« Previous:

Comments are closed.

back to top