P1020922-001Dolomedes triton

Family:  Pisauridae

Although there are over a hundred of Dolomedes in the world, only nine are found in North American.   Almost all are semi-aquatic and are nocturnal.

The six-spotted fishing spider can walk, glide, row on water and dive into the water, capturing an air bubble which allows it to remain submerged for over 1/2 hour.   They detect prey by the vibrations in water when hunting on water, although they can hunt on land or underwater.

The six-spotted fishing spider hunts during the day for mosquitoes, crane flies, common whitetails, eastern dobsonflies, northern caddis flies, field crickets, true katydids, honey bees, wood frogs, spring peepers, southern leopard frogs, eastern mosquitofish, creek chubs, golden shiner, bluegills, eastern newts, ebony jewelwings, green stinkbugs, giant willow aphids, blue bottle flies and other six-spotted fishing spiders.   If a male approaches a female who has already mated, he may be eaten by her.

The spiders, in turn, are hunted by bluegills, yellow perch, largemouth bass, channel catfish, creek chubs, great blue herons, bullfrogs, southern leopard frogs, common snapping turtles, black crappie and their own species.

The female will encase her eggs in a sac and carry it to a protected area where she will stand guard until the eggs hatch and the spiderlings are ready to fend for themselves.   Spiders overwinter over two seasons before they mate.

This photo was taken on May 28, 2013.  Another spider was hidden under a tent of spatterdock leaves and a spent spider casing was hanging from the edge of that “tent”.

While other photos indicate the 6 spots, we have not had this photo verified by someone knowledgeable about spiders.

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