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•Size: Body length of mature female 15-26 mm; male 7-13 mm. •Color: Overall a mottled brown or gray with black markings. Rear end of abdomen has multiple black ‘W-shaped’ stripes. One color morph has a white band around the entire outside of the body (not to be confused with adult males of other species of Dolomedes). Legs banded in brown, black, and gray. •Eyes: Eye arrangement typical for nursery web spiders in the family Pisauridae. Total of eight eyes. •Legs: Legs quite long, very long in males in proportion to body size. Long, black spines are visible when closely examined. Mature individuals are very large, “sprawling” spiders. •Body: Cephalothorax and abdomen of about equal size. Robust spiders. Abdomen rounded in the front, widest in the middle, and tapered towards the rear.
Range Found in the eastern U.S. and adjacent southeastern Canada (southern Manitoba to Nova Scotia, south to Texas and Florida). Habitat This is a spider of deciduous forests. Despite the moniker of “fishing spider,” this particular species is frequently found far from water. Look for the spiders waiting motionless in ambush on tree trunks, fenceposts, walls, and other vertical surfaces, mostly at night. The spiders dash into tree holes, under bark, and into crevices when startled.
Spotted in the hole of a tree about eye-level beside the trail to Blue Hole and High Shoals Falls in the Cohutta National Forest, Hiawassee, GA Spider was straddling a the insert of a shoe or flip flop bottom that would have fit a very large man's foot. (I don't know how it got there - my husband and I joked that the spider was so big it probably ate the man who was wearing it.