Fishing Spiders

Photo of a Fishing Spider; Maine's largest spider
Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus)

The Fishing Spider (genus Dolomedes) is Maine’s largest native spider. Females are larger than the males and the one pictured at right is in fact a female Dark Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus), which was found in Penobscot County in a house located in a heavily-wooded area. The tenebrosus species is associated with wooded habitats, but others in the Dolomedes genus are found near–or literally walking on–bodies of water, and have been reported to prey upon small fish; hence the common name, ‘fishing spider.’ They are large enough to be capable of biting humans, but unless the individual who is bitten is unusually sensitive to spider venom, there is little cause for alarm and the bite is likened to that of a bee or wasp sting. Bites are very rare, as these spiders are also very shy and would rather flee than fight. They are very speedy, so fleeing is a successful strategy for them when they feel threatened.


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