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Six Spotted Fishing Spider

Pisauridae Dolomedes triton

Order: Araneae

Family: Pisauridae (nursery web spiders)

Genus: Dolomedes (fishing spiders)

Other Common Name: Shoreline Fishing Spider

D. Triton is greenish brown, with white lines along the cephalothorax and six characteristic bright white dots on the abdomen. Females are 17-20mm, and males are 9-13mm. Adult females have a leg spread of about 50-60mm.

They are always found on or near water, often along the edge of ponds or in shore vegetation.

D. triton hunts by sitting on top of the water, and waiting for prey to drop in or pass by. If threatened, they can dive under the surface of the water. They move along the surface of the water by "rowing" with four legs, running with six, or sailing with the wind currents.

The larger category of fishing spiders is called this because of this hunting style, and because some of the largest members have been known to catch and eat small fish, although their primary prey are invertebrates.

In the nursery web spider family, the mother carries her fertilized eggs and developing spiderlings around in an egg case held in her chelicerae. Before they begin to escape, she attaches the egg case to vegetation, and spins a "nursery web" around it. None of these spiders use ensnaring webs to capture prey.

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Last updated 12/13/2004