Spider that can walk on water and catch fish

When you think of Spiders, rarely do you ever think of them as running on water or catching fish as prey. That does not sound like anything that could exist in the insect world. However the Fishing Spider or “Dolomedes” does actually hunt for fish as a food source.  This larger spider species can reach over 1” in length and are brow or gray in color to blend in with the forest floors around water sources and are resident spiders here in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Fishing Spider does feed on other insects, just like related spiders. They will strategically place themselves at the edge of a source of water with one set of legs anchoring their body to the shore and the front legs extended out and floating on top of the water. The Fishing Spider is similar to an orb weaver, that senses vibrations on their “trap” web with their sensitive legs then goes in for the kill; except this spider senses the vibrations in the water. Their whole bodies are covered in very small and very sensitive hairs that can give them feedback from the water. When an insect or fish is nearby, these hairs designed with a high degree of feedback can tell the spider where their prey is and even give it an idea of what direction the water vibration is coming from. So, if the prey does not come to them as they are anchored to the shore, they can go in pursuit. This is because the hairs are also water repellent giving the Fishing Spider the ability to walk, run or swim on top of the water. They quickly get to the prey, such as a May Fly and attack. Being slick and buoyant, they can even raise up their front legs to catch the wind and sail across the water. However the Fishing Spider has another trick up its sleeve with the ability to actually go under water to catch prey. With the wax or oil like covering on the hairs on their bodies, they can actually form air bubbles that allow them to go under water and hunt for short amounts of time. This makes them very adept hunters, on top of and under the water, with tiny claws on the ends of their front legs to locate, secure the prey and then inject venom. This has led them to be observed actually hunting and eating very small fish. As crazy as this may seem, this spider hunts and eats fish due to their highly advanced body structure and special hairs they possess. These hairs are so sensitive, they can even keep the spider from gathering information that would prove to be a false positive, such as a leaf hitting the water or excessive currents in the water. They are specifically designed to sense the vibrations of a struggling insect on top of the water, or fish / tadpoles just below the surface of the water.

The Fishing Spider mates and then the eggs actually carried by the female until they hatch. With other spider species, the male actually is killed by the female after mating, however with the Fishing Spider the male actually dies without any attack from the female, as if he is giving his life to the female to eat. The female then guards the young of up to 1,000 as they grow in a protected small web sac.

These seemingly aggressive hunters are no threat to humans, as they rarely bite and even if they do it is like a minor bee sting. If you see one near your home, it may seem alarming as they resemble a very large Wolf Spider, but they are not normally considered a Nashville Pest Control Issue. However if you notice other pests such as Brown Recluse or Black Widows lurking, be quick to call Certified Pest Control Nashville, Tennessee to help diagnose and define your pest prevention program. Our Family owned and operated business will offer the best service and rates in Nashville. Just give us a try, you will not be disappointed.