Dolomedes tenebrosus
(Dark Fishing Spider)

Taxonomic Hierarchy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Suborder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Pisauridae
  • Genus: Dolomedes
  • Species: Dolomedes tenebrosus

Other Common Names

Dark Fishing Spider, Nursery Web Spider, Raft Spider, Dock Spider

Author

Nicholas Marcellus Hentz, 1844

Pronunciation

doh-loh-MEE-deez ten-eh-BRO-sus

Identification Traits

Disclaimer: The following table provides a quick overview of the spider's basic attributes. The physical traits are greatly generalized in order to aid in the identification and sorting of spider species using our search feature. This information is not exhaustive, and keep in mind that traits such as color, markings, and overall size and shape can vary widely within a species due to variables such as the spider's age, gender, diet, hydration level, climate, and habitat. Though experienced arachnologists and hobbyists can often classify spiders rather accurately based on their unique markings and general appearance, it's important to know that scientifically accurate spider identification relies on detailed taxonomic keys and microscopic examinations of a spider's reproductive organs.

Female iconFemale Male iconMale
Body size More information icon 15mm - 26mm 7mm - 13mm
Eye count 8
Primary Colors
Identifying Traits Fuzzy or hairy appearance, Unique pattern, Chevron pattern, Striped or banded legs, Visible spines on legs, Especially long legs
Web style Nursery web only


Additional Remarks

  • Despite the moniker of “fishing spider,” this particular species is frequently found far away from water. It is the least aquatic of the genus.
  • Frequently mistaken for a “wolf spider” (members of family Lycosidae), but the eye arrangements are vastly different.
  • Courtship lasts about 1.5 hours and culminates with the act of copulation, which only takes about 4.5 minutes (Sierwald & Coddington 1988).
  • Egg sac is a grayish sphere, approximately 15mm in diameter, held in the jaws of the female as she wanders. Can contain over 1,000 eggs; Kaston (1948) recorded one that had 1,393 eggs.
  • Mother hangs the egg sac in a “nursery web” when the babies are ready to emerge, and watches over them until they disperse after their first molt.

Featured Pictures

Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Eyes Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Female - Dorsal,Egg Sacs Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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Picture of Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) - Female - Dorsal Enlarge picture icon
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