Mike Cook, of Solon Township, brought this large spider into the Post, which he found under his porch. His friend wanted to take it out of the jar for a picture, but we were perfectly happy to leave it inside!
While it resembles a wolf spider, we discovered it actually is a type of fishing spider (dolomedes tenebrosus). Ranger Steve Mueller verified that for us.
According to Penn State’s webpage on this spider, the species Dolomedes tenebrosus is more frequently associated with wooded areas (it would be more accurately classified as a tree-dwelling spider) and is a common household invader in these locations. It occurs from New England and Canada south to Florida and Texas.
Another website, www.spiders.us, said that “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.”
It also said that this is a powerful hunting spider that does not spin a prey-catching snare. Prey is composed of large insects and even small vertebrates that the spider can overpower. This includes small fish (e.g. minnows) and various aquatic insects when this spider hangs out near bodies of water.
These spiders mature in late spring, and reproduce in mid-summer.
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