SPIDERS page 6--Fishing Spiders
This page was born 9/13/2004.  Rickubis designed it.  (such as it is.) Last update: 12/16/2012
Images and contents on this page copyright 2002-2012 Richard M. Dashnau

Here are some of my other Brazos Bend pages:
  Spiders Page 1  
  Spiders page 2 (Nephila clavipes)
  Spiders page 3
  Spiders page 4 (Jumping Spiders)
  Spiders page 5 (Orb Weavers)
  Spiders page 7 (Spitting Spiders)
Alligators at Brazos Bend State Park Introduction                Critters at Brazos Bend State Park Page 1
Snakes-nonvenomous 1-------------------------------------------    Critters at Brazos Bend State Park Page 3
Snakes-nonvenomous 2-------------------------------------------------Insects, non-toxic
Snakes-nonvenomous 3------------------------------------------------Spiders
Birds-Waders----Birds-Raptors---------------------------------   Lizards!--Turtles!

As I get more pictures of spiders, I'll be putting them here. I'll try to give some information as well. I recommend a book I've bought recently to anyone who is interested in spiders. The title is: Biology of Spiders, by Rainer F. Foelix, published in 1996. This has a lot of information on spider biology. This is not an identification guide, but is filled with detail on how spiders do what they do(Since they're "spiders" do they "spide"? Is what spiders do called "spiding"? Probably not. It's just another mystery of the English language.). On November 23, 2003, I moved all the information on Golden Silk Spiders to another page.

August 23, 2004 The image below (FISHING FOR QUARTERS?) shows a spider that I've seen from time to time, but haven't been able to observe; and it's with a quarter.
                                                                                                       FISHING FOR QUARTERS?
Recently, the VC/NC at Brazos Bend State Park got a new "pond life" aquarium, set up by David Heinicke.
About once a week, nets are taken to the various lakes around the park, and some of the zoological specimens found are added to the aquarium. It is fascinating to see what we have!
Among the animals in the aquarium is the subject of todays RICKUBISCAM. This is a Six-Spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes Triton), and a very nice one. It's very difficult for me to photograph inside the aquarium, but I was able to get a few pictures of the spider.
Some of the more observant visitors to rickubis.com might recognise the Dolomedes genus from other pictures I've shown; and they'd be correct. Many of the Dolomedes species are called "fishing spiders", although from what I've been able to find; only this one, Dolomedes Triton, actually catches fish! These spiders are difficult to observe for a number of reasons. They hide well.; they run very quickly, even on top of water; AND, they hide (and hunt!) under water as well. One of the times I tried to photograph this one (the pictures here were taken on different weekends in August), it decided it had enough, and ran under one of the lily pads and stood upside down....under the water.  If I was walking by outside, I'd never see this spider, of course.  Below are more pictures.  In the cropped closeups, note the 2 rows of 4 eyes; the bright stripes on the upper edges of the cephalothorax (or prosoma) (and the top shield on this is called a "carapace"; the same term used to describe a turtle's upper shell.) Strangely, there are about *twelve* white spots on top of the abdomen (or opisthosoma); and six large black spots on the sternum (underside of the cephalothorax). I suppose this is where the common name came from.
(identification key from "How to know the Spiders, 3rd edition, by B.J. Kaston.)

The two pictures below, although not a clear as I'd like, do show the spider eating one of the small fish in the tank. By the time I was told about it (and poeple look in this tank all day--it's very interesting) the spider was already eating the fish. I'd certainly like to see exactly how the spider snags a fish. Update 12/16/2012-The fish  that the spider has caught is most likely a Golden Topminnow (Fundulus chrysotus).  This link shows some identification features. The gold spots on the fish identify it as a female of the species.
                    D.TRITON  EATING FISH                                                D. TRITON W/ FISH-- CLOSER

July 18, 2004 I've been watching for the Dolomedes Albineus around the VC/NC. I didn't find any, but I *did* find this spider which seems to be a Dolomodes Tenebrosus on one of the outside columns. (See LARGE, SPARSE HAIRS, below) ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                            lLARGE, SPARSE HAIRS

July 12, 2004 I guess it's time for a few more spider pictures. The image below (READY FOR MY CLOSEUP) is a closeup of a spider that was hiding on one of the deck benches outside the Visitor's Center at BBSP.  Notice the two rows of eyes, all about the same size. Also notice that the top row has a "curve" to it. This eye arrangement is one of the identification keys for the Dolomodes species of spiders. I was pretty sure that this is another specimen of the Dolomedes Tenebrosus, one of the "nursery web spiders", or "fishing spiders" (but it isn't. see the update below).  Compare with the pictures one of my other webpages. These spiders are active hunters and they also carry their egg sacks in their jaws. As the picture below shows (DOLOMEDES W/ QUARTER), it's a pretty good-sized spider. While lying on the sidewalk, I was able to look up and get some good pictures of the front of the spider. (see FROM BELOW, and CLOSER, below). Notice how from this angle, you can see how it has clamped its left and right third legs around the 2 x 4 that supports the bench.
                      READY FOR MY CLOSEUP                                 DOLOMEDES WITH QUARTER                                          ALBINEUS FROM BELOW                                              CLOSER ALBINEUS
Update, July 13: Well, I was pretty sure, but as I started thinking about it; I considered that this spider was a lighter shade than my picture of the Dolomedes tenebrosus. I started thinking that it resembled more the picture of the Dolomodes albineus, at the top of my other web page. What else could I do but see if I could ask the "high priestess of Dolomedes". ms. Kelly Kissane (at http://www.dolomedes.org) once again. So, I sent ms. Kissane this email:

"Last Sunday, we had another visit from one of your favorite spiders. I'm pretty certain that it's a dolomedes, because of the eye pattern, but I'm not sure if it's a tenebrosus or an albineus. I've seen one of each and sent (you) pictures before. And I kind of off-handedly called this one a tenebrosus...but on further thought I'm considering that its color is wrong. <snip>
Anyhow, can you help me with this, and perhaps give me any readily-visible identification keys that give away
the difference between the two spiders, d. tenebrosus, and d. albineus?"

And, ms. Kissane was kind enough to send this answer:

"  You have, without a doubt, Dolomedes albineus.  My favorite species.  They live in trees and are absolutely beautiful spiders. Almost nothing is known about them, unfortunately.

You can tell the difference between D. albineus and D. tenebrosus by the coloration.  Only D. albineus is whitish, with extra hairs that make it look fuzzier than other Dolomedes.  D. tenebrosus is brownish (some variation in hue, however) with orange annuli (the rings of lighter color in the legs).  Both speces are large, however."

So, there it is. Another Dolomedes albineus, known sometimes as a "Whitebanded Fishing Spider"! Thank you very much, Kelly! Here's something interesting. This spider was on a bench about 30 paces away from where I saw the other D. Albineus fell to the ground from a Live Oak on July 7, 2002!. Today's was on a bench under a live oak (possibly the same one, since the upper branches of the two live oaks-both over 150 years old-are mingled together). Two years, almost to the day!
Below are two closeups of the spider.  Note the extremely hairy leg segments--especially the 3rd from the body, the "femur"-- compared to the Dolomedes Tenebrosus above and below.  For some photos showing parts of the spider anatomy labeled, go to my Spiders Page 3.

                                                                      TARSAL CLAWS                                                                                              EXTREMELY HAIRY LEGS

September 4, 2002  Last Monday, Labor Day, I was at the park, doing park things, when John drove up in one of the gators. He told me about a large spider that he saw inside one of the water stations on the Spillway trail. Not long after that, Herb mentioned the same spider.

So, I stopped by this water station, and looked inside.  I did't see any spider, and started to stick my head in, but then decided I might not like a large,  annoyed spider of indeterminate species jumping down onto the back of my neck. So, I carefully looked again, and then I found it.  With a little maneuvering I was able to get some pictures. One is below.


I suspected that this was another spider of the Dolomedes genus. So, I decided to ask the "high priestess of Dolomedes", Ms. Kelly Kissane.

Here is part of my email to her:
          ....Here's my story. Yesterday, two people told me about this "big spider" that was hiding in our little water  station.
          They knew I like to take pictures of them. So, I looked, and found it hiding up against the ceiling. The picture with it
          against the end of the board shows where I found it. That wood is about 1-3/8 inches to a side.  I blew on the spider,
           and it moved  onto the wall, allowing me to get the other shot. I'm reluctant to bother the animals too much, so that's
           all I did. I was lucky to get the shots I did, considering I had to reach inside the box while
           holding the camera.
           Am I right in guessing that this is a Dolomedes Tenebrosus? The body shape and the "frowning face" eye
           arrangement seems similar to our other friend's (D. Albineus). Also, that pattern on the rear segment
           (abdomen/opisthosoma) seems like what I can see in the guidebook. Since I think it's a Dolomedes, I figured
           you'd be the person to ask....

And here is her answer:


           That's definitely Dolomedes tenebrosus - a large female.  The males are less than 1/2 that size
           (sometimes they're 1/4 the size of the female)....


So, there's the story. I've been fortunate (some may not agree) to be able to see two different spiders in the genus Dolomedes.

Between 9/14 and 10/18, 2002 I went back to the water station to visit the dolomedes, and took more pictures. Some of these came out well.
On September 20, it was still inside the water station.  I was able to take some good closeups. (see FACE AND PEDIPALPS, TWO ROWS OF 4, and WITH A QUARTER, below.)

                      FACE AND PEDIPALPS                                         TWO ROWS OF FOUR EYES                                               WITH A QUARTER                                              EYES FROM THE SIDE8 

                  LEG ESTABLISHING SHOT

On September 28 I saw it clinging to the inside of the door  of the water station. The three images (see LEG ESTABLISHING, above; and TWO CROSSED LEGS, and TARSAL SEGMENTS, below.) Show the end segments the last of 7, on a spider's leg. Note the widely-spaced, hooked claws on the ends of the legs, which don't seem to be holding onto the wood.

                   TWO CROSSED LEGS                                                 TARSAL SEGMENTS                                                    LOOKING DOWN ON ME                                         LOWER RIGHT LEG     

                     LOOKING DOWN AGAIN

Finally, on October 18, I saw it on the outside again. I didn't see it after that. (see LOOKING DOWN AGAIN, LOWER LEFT LEG, FACE WITH FANGS, and FACE EVEN CLOSER, below.)

                           LOWER LEFT LEG                                                  FACE WITH FANGS                                                  FACE EVEN CLOSER

July 21-20, 2002  I guess we're moving into our summer weather, although it hasn't broken 100 degrees F yet. The number of visitors to the park has lessened somewhat. Today, July 21(Sunday), I took a few more pictures of some of our Golden Silk Spiders. This picture shows a pretty big one (see HOW BIG?, above).  I took two more pictures of this one, with different objects to give a better idea of the size. (See CATCH MY NAME, and WITH A QUARTER above). These spiders are usually harmless to humans, but it still gave me some heebie-jeebies to look through the camera zoomed in as I moved my hand closer to the spider. I'll mention here that Ms. Kissane, in our early communication, pointed out the there is a very poisonous, and aggressive spider from South America also known as "Banana Spider", because it has turned up in shipments of bananas here in the U.S. Please don't start killing the spiders I've shown here under the impression that these "Banana Spiders" are the same. They aren't.

July 7, 2002  Happy 4th of July Weekend! I was able to go to the park 3 times over the last 4 days. Interesting stuff happened. (Well, interesting to me, and since this is my page, I guess you're going to see some of it.) I'll start with what happened last. I was talking with Mark and Sharon, sitting on the bench outside the front door of the VC, when a vertical moving object in my peripheral vision caught my attention.  I turned to look, and saw what seemed to be a piece of Spanish Moss slowly moving to the ground. I guess the slowness of the fall must have caught my attention. I glanced at it, and was about to turn back to the conversation, when the "moss" got up and started hopping/running (see ON THE GROUND,below)! I made a number of exclamatory sounds, and all three of us went over to examine the spider. As we got there, a small red wasp (about 1/2 to 3/4 inches long) started harassing the spider. It landed behind, and ran after the spider, it crossed in front, it circled, and then, it ran under the spider. The spider, meanwhile, had stopped, and had raised its body up from the ground. Once or twice, it lunged at the
----- ----
                        WITHOUT A FLASH                                                       WITH A FLASH                                                    CLOSEUP OF HEAD                                                    ON THE GROUND
wasp, perhaps biting it (it moved very quickly). The wasp seemed to give up, and flew away. We examined the spider, and then Mark had it crawl onto a stick and he put the spider on one of the Live Oak trees.  By then I had retrieved my camera, and took a few pictures. The rickubiscam this week shows the spider against the bark.  The following pictures show better detail. Clicking two of the thumbnail images will show a 640 x 480 image. This spider's camouflage is amazing!  I found that taking a picture with a flash contrasted the spider better against the bark. Its coloration blended well also with the conditions on the ground.  I am guessing that this is a variety of wolf spider, mostly because it resembles one or two varieties that I was able to find pictures of.  If anyone out there has a better identification, please let me know.
New information 7/22/2002: Yesterday, I talked to Sharon (Park Naturalist) about this spider. She suggested that it was perhaps a "Nursery Web Spider". So, I did some research. I was able to find some information and pictures on the internet, and in my two spider books as well. From what I can see, this seems to be a Nursery Web Spider. Some members of this group are also called Fishing Spiders. I think it's one of two species: Dolomedes Tenebrosus, or Dolomedes Albineus. My Golden Guide to Spiders and Their Kin (Levi) states that D. Tenebrosus lives in the U.S. East of the Rocky Mountains; but The Audubon Society Guide to North American Insects and Spiders gives their range as "New England and adjacent areas of Canada".  I suppose one could say Texas was adjacent to Canada if one is speaking on an astronomical scale, but I don't think they are.  I found this website however, which may shed some light on this mystery: http://www.dolomedes.org/
On this website, Ms. Kissane shows a spider that looks very much like the one I saw, and also mentions that they are one of the few species of Dolomedes that lives primarily on land (remember, these are usually called "Fishing Spiders"), and that they also live in trees in the Southeastern U.S..  Sure sounds like our critter, doesn't it? That would make it D. Albineus.
More new information 7/22/2002: I had emailed Ms. Kelly C. Kissane and asked her about this spider. She wrote back (twice! Thanks, Ms. Kissane!) and said that based on the pictures, and the head shot, she was comfortable with the identification as Dolomedes Albineus.  Ms. Kissane also said that D. Tenebrosus' (the other species) range extends further than what I mentioned above, and that she's found them "as far south as Southern Virginia, and as far west as Missouri". However, the one in my pictures is a "Nursery Web Spider", or "Fishing Spider", or "Whitebanded Fishing Spider"--Dolomedes Albineus.
I found the following classification at this website: http://www.floridanature.org/species.asp?species=Dolomedes_albineus
     Kingdom: Metazoa (Animalia)
     Phylum: Arthropoda (arthropods)
     Class: Arachnida (spiders, harvestmen, scorpions, mites, etc.)
     Order: Araneae (spiders)
     Family: Pisauridae (nursery web spiders)
     Genus: Dolomedes (fishing spiders)
     Species: Dolomedes albineus
     Common Names: Whitebanded Fishing Spider
Spiders are turning out to be quite interesting. But, they are difficult to identify in some cases. I'm also unsure of the differences between the species. I guess I'll just have to find out more about them.  I guess I'll also have to become more familiar with taxonomic classification of life, also.

If you'd like to know more about the park follow these links:

Brazos Bend State Park   The main page.

Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer's Page  The volunteer's main page.

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