Arizona Naturalists >>> Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Spiders, Scorpions and other Arachnids >>> Fishing Spider

Fishing Spider

Dolomedes triton


Photo © by Mike Plagens

This photo was taken in Fish Creek Canyon in the Superstition Mountains, Maricopa Co., Arizona on Oct. 5th, 2005. The photo is also hosted at Wikimedia where there are more photos of spiders in the family Pisauridae. Identification was provided by Manydy Howe at

Pisauridae -- Nursery Web Spider Family

Fishing spiders can dive beneath the surface of the water taking aquatic insects, tadpoles or even small fish as prey. The body hair (setae) repell water and keep a bouyant film of air around the spider while it is submerged.

This particular specimen has a leg-span in excess of 50 mm and is an adult male. Two right rear legs are missing as a result of a conflict with another spider or perhaps an encounter with a predator.

Because these spiders are rarely found far from water their distribution in the Sonoran Desert is restricted to riparian corridors or irrigated urban habitats.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2012