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Posts Tagged ‘Dolomedes triton’

Most of the time when I see spiders, it is because I spot their webs first.  Some spiders, though, rely exclusively on speed to capture unsuspecting prey, like this Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton) that I spotted on Monday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge.

Fishing spiders sit at the edge of the water with some of their long legs fully extended. When they sense vibrations of a potential prey on the surface of the water, fishing spiders can walk on the water to seize insects, vertebrates, tadpoles and occasionally small fish or even dive underwater up to 7.1 inches (18 cm), according to Wikipedia.

When I first spotted this fishing spider, it was perched on a semi-submerged log, as shown in the second image below. The spider somehow sensed my presence and ran towards some vegetation at the edge of the water. I was able to maneuver to a position from which I was looking almost directly down at the spider and captured the first image which makes the spider look rather large and menacing, which is why I selected the photo as the featured image.

six-spotted fishing spider

 

six-spotted fishing spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Did you know that not all spiders build webs? Some, like jumping spiders, rely on stealth and speed to capture unsuspecting prey. One of my favorite spiders, the Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton), sits at the edge of the water with some of its long legs fully extended. When it senses vibrations of a potential prey on the surface of the water, a fishing spider can walk on the water to seize insects, vertebrates, tadpoles and occasionally small fish or even dive underwater up to 7.1 inches (18 cm), according to Wikipedia.

Here are a couple of images of a Six-spotted Fishing Spider that I spotted earlier this week at Prince William Forest Park. I really like the way that you can see most of the spiders eight eyes in these images and the way that the environment looks almost alien and other-worldly.

Past experience has shown me that viewers will be split in their reactions to these images—some will find them to be really cool and fascinating, while others will find them to be completely creepy. As you might suspect, I am in the former group.

Six-spotted Fishing spider

Six-spotted Fishing spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Unlike those that construct elaborate webs, some spiders instead perch at the shore with extended legs and sense prey through vibrations on the surface of the water. When the prey is detected, the spider runs across the top of the water, prompting some to call it the “Jesus spider.”

I spotted this cool-looking Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton) in the shallow water of a pond this past Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When shot from a relatively low angle, this Six-spotted Fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) looks especially fearsome, although it was actually pretty small, only about an inch (25 mm) or so in length. The spider was perched on a lily pad at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland.

Six-spotted Fishing spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some movement in the muddy water right below my feet caught my attention yesterday as I was standing at the edge of a small stream at Huntley Meadows Park observing a dragonfly. A Six-spotted Fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) was walking on the water with its legs fully extended.

The other times that I seen one of these fishing spiders, they always had a few legs hanging onto the shore, but this one was moving across the surface of the water pretty quickly, perhaps chasing a potential prey. Unfortunately, overhanging vegetation prevented me from tracking the spider’s movement, so I don’t know if the hunt was successful.

Six-spotted Fishing spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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I’m not big on ghosts and goblins, so to celebrate Halloween I though I’d include a few recent images of spiders that I have not posted previously. Some of my readers may find certain spiders to be creepy and utterly appropriate for Halloween, though I tend to view as beautiful creatures, many of which are capable of creating beautiful web art.

Happy Halloween to all.

NOTE: If you click on any one of the images in the mosaic, you will be taken into slide show mode, where you will see larger versions of the images (when you are viewing the original posting).

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of my fellow photographers, Walter Sanford, pointed at the water and exclaimed, “Spider!” A spider in the water? Yes, fishing spiders don’t make a web and instead hunt by sensing the vibrations on the surface of the water.

There are numerous species of fishing spiders, but I think this may be a Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton). Yes, I realize there are more than six white spots on its back—apparently the name refers to six dark spots on the underside of the spider, a part of the spider that I have never seen.

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Six-spotted Fishing Spiders (Dolomedes triton) are a particularly fascinating kind of spiders and I was really excited to see one yesterday at my local marsh.

Fishing spiders don’t build a web, but use the surface of the water in the same way that other spiders use a web. They extend some of their legs onto the surface of the water and when they feel the vibrations of a prey, they run across the surface of the water to snatch it. According to Wikipedia, the very sensitive hairs on their legs and feet help them to interpret the vibrations they sense and determine distance and direction. Their eyes play a secondary role in hunting, particularly because they do much of their hunting at night.

This spider was a couple of feet below the level of the boardwalk and several feet away and I was able to use my tripod to help steady the shot. In fact, the spider was cooperative enough that I made attempts with my 135-400mm zoom, my 55-250mm zoom, and my 100mm macro lens. Of the images that I am posting, the first image was shot with the longer zoom and the second with the macro lens. The macro lens let me hang over the edge of the boardwalk a little, which let me get a little closer, but made it tough to brace myself.

If you want to see a few more images of these interesting spiders, check out my previous postings Fishing spider waiting for prey and Fishing in the swamp.

fishing_spider1_blogfishing_spider2_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I was walking on a low boardwalk yesterday at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA, I spotted this Six-spotted Fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) at the edge of the water on a leaf. These spiders wait for prey with several of their legs in the water and capture other invertebrates, tadpoles, and sometimes even small fish, according to Wikipedia, when they feel the vibrations in the water.

It will probably be several months before I begin to see insects in Northern Virginia, but my brief trip to Georgia has given me a foretaste of things to come.

spider1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This morning as I was walking along the boardwalk that runs through the marsh in Huntley Meadows Park, I happened to glance down into the muddy water and was surprised to see something that looked like a cross between a starfish and a spider. I always though that spiders lived in trees and on other types of vegetation, but today I learned that there are also spiders that hunt for their prey in the water.

This spider is from the Dolomedes family, probably a six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton). According to the Wikipedia article, they are often seen with their legs sprawled out by the water while they are waiting for prey (which is what this one seems to be doing). They eat other invertebrates, tadpoles and occasionally small fish (and the female may also eat male fishing spiders if she has already mated). According to fcps.edu, these spiders can walk on the surface water and can stay underwater for 30 minutes. Not surprisingly, they don’t make webs.

This has been quite the day for unusual insects, beginning with a neon-colored grasshopper and ending with a fishing spider. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Fishing Spider Waiting for Prey (click for higher resolution)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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