I have a real website now rather than a blog. Though I will keep this one open for a while, I will no longer keep this one up. My new site, "USA Spiders" is not fully completed but getting close. I made sure to get the Michigan page finished first. :o) Please use
USA Spiders in the future and if you find any problems with the site, please let me know so I can fix them.

Spiders verified to be here in Michigan are listed on the left sidebar. On the right sidebar, are the spiders of which pictures have been sent in to me.

The BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER! - Rick Vetter, the worlds top expert on the Brown recluse has published a book on the infamous Brown recluse spider. Learn the truth behind the worlds most misunderstood spider. (BUY IT HERE!)

My Disclaimer
My Knowledge and Why I am Not an Expert

Spider Questions and IDENTIFICATION Requests
My EMAIL can be found in the above link. I am always happy to help identify a spider, but please do us both a favor and read this before emailing me. Thanks.

Describing your Spider ..... Photographing your Spider

Your Fear of Spiders
........... Spiders in your Home?


Beyond Spider Dome - Where two spiders enter and one comes out.

Spiders and Drugs - Documentary video about the effects different drugs have on spiders.

Play with a computerized spider
- (flash)

Spider Diagram. - Basic anatomy of a spider.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fishing Spider

Dolomedes Tenebrosus
Picture taken by: Laurel - Green Oaks Twp, Mi.

 Abdomen - Oblong and slightly longer than the cephalothorax. Usually in patterns of browns and black. They often have chevron markings but some are so chaotic looking it is hard to see the shapes.

Cephalothorax - Approximately two thirds the size of the abdomen. Usually in patterns of black and brown in color.

- Some sites will state the females grow to around 75mm or 3" (including legs), but I have gotten reports and found wikipedia says as large as 100mm or about 4".

Bite Info - The Fishing spider is not considered aggressive, but may bite in defense of itself or of its eggs. They sometimes will carry their eggs underneath them. The venom is not dangerous to humans. With some of the larger species, it can cause some localized pain and swelling but there should be no lasting effects.

Other Notes - When the Fishing Spider lays eggs, it wraps them in a sac and carries it underneath them. Before they hatch it will tend to attach it to something and protect it.

Genus - Dolomedes Tenebrosus


  1. i just cought one of these spiders about half dollar size..really nice spider..cant wait till feeding.. i live in battle creek michigan..hes about 3 inchs in diameter

  2. Found one of these inside our shop this past February in Coopersville, MI.

    Thanks for the great website!

  3. I had this nasty looking creature on some clothes that i was about to wash from a camping trip. It must have had some young but was very lethargic. Hollywood

  4. found one in fishing shed, about three inches leg to leg. onaway mich. fishing spider.

  5. found one in my garage friday night june 2 2012 ,squased it, put it next to a round toothpick with its legs spread out it it was the length of the tooth pick

  6. Wow my mistake ken I think that I clicked on the wrong spider I thout it was a wolf? It is big! Tanks again for this sight. Paul

  7. Yea, I was wondering, when you said that with the legs, it spans across a beer can. :o) I am always glad to see my site helps people and just as glad when they can identify the spiders themselves. Simply because it means I am giving enough info and good enough pics for people to do so.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  8. I just found one of these in my basement.. It's a big one too! My wife says "Squash it!" but I've decided to let it go outside.

  9. I tried to let it go but it crawed back into my container so she lives in a aqarium and eats crickets

  10. I found and captured a fishing spider at my house in Houghton Lake. My son thought it was a wolf spider, but found your website and now confirmed it is a fishing spider. Its body is at least two inches long and leg span about 4. Got my attention! I plan on releasing it, but the neighbors got a kick out of seeing it. Hopefully teaching the children not to be a afraid and respect nature.
    Thanks for the info!

    1. I just caught too at houghton lake. Pretty good size. Took pictures of it.the date is 6-19-13

  11. I Found One Of These Spiders In Skidway Lake, MI. It Is About 3" Legs And All. I Am Like Deadly Afriad Of Spiders, So I Had To Look It Up And See What Kind It Was.

  12. Ken why do they call them Dolomedes Tenebrosus?

  13. I found 1 of these in my mud room in Wolverine. Being new to Michigan I did not know if it was poisonous or not so my first thought was to put back into the yard. I am glad to know what this spider is, I was afraid that it might have been poisonous,especially when my brave recklous daughter picked it up..I probably would have done the same at her age. Thanks for this informational site keep the good work.

  14. Adrian, MI...thank you for helping me solve my "spider-challenge"! I found one of these spiders a couple days ago on the door of my garden shed. NOT being a spider fan...but certainly respecting their value...I ran in the house to get my son...(mostly so he'd believe my hectic story about how large it was!)...and it was still there.

    I've always had a fear of spiders...but decided when my kids were little that I didn't want them to have this same feeling. I bought ID books and we took time to find out what they were. This one was a beauty! (but...I'm not too anxious to open that door again!)

  15. My Fishing Spider
    just laid eggs "yae" her Abdomen looked lighter than usual now it is very small, saw the egg sack. I put an snack in there for her and she came out to get it,but to know avail she was stumbling
    She looks very tired. Ill let them go when they get bigger. Don't want to eat more siders this year then what the statistics say.

  16. Ken would like to put pic on here?

  17. Email me a pic if you have a nice quality one. I cannot say when I will get time to add it though. When I do get time, I have used it to answer emails. Sorry. Rough times come. Hopefully this one will go soon. lol

    Just keep in mind that the babies may get everywhere when they hatch. It would be cool to watch them, but just make sure they dont end up all over your house. lol

  18. I found a female the other day under some boxes on the basement in Oxford mi. She's small for the species. 2 in tops. I knew she looked like a fishing spider but I had no idea what exactly she was. Ive only seen Dolomedes triton, six spotted fishing spider, in person . Thanks for the page!

  19. Super gross - found one at a wedding I was photographing yesterday!! Yikes!

  20. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. I have found these things all over my property and house for the last few years, mostly in the bathroom and always on my lawn mower. Everyone tried to tell me it was a wolf but I knew it wasn't. I have been trying to identify this spider for years and have worried whether it was poisonous or not. Thank you for the site and the information and I do have a good pic too I will try to email you. Nicole, Shelby Twp, MI

  22. Found one of these under a log today. I have a great pic of it if you'd like.

  23. I've been finding these all over the porch and sidewalk at night. We live in a condo in West Bloomfield, and it is right on the edge of the woods. I have a couple of great pictures, and have gone so far as to take additional pics of the spot using a tape measure to show scale. The one I saw on the porch the other night was about 3 inches from tip of rear leg to tip of front. The one on the sidewalk was slightly larger, and the legs were about the thickness of the end of a tennis shoe lace. Have pics of both if anyone would like to see them.

  24. Usually those who send pics in are looking for identification. The clearer the better for that. However, if anyone ever has good quality pics they just want to send in, I am always glad to get those too. Who knows, I may even want to use one in my blog or book now and then.

  25. Thank you for this informative site! I had no idea what kind of spider we had. After looking on your site, it looks just like the fishing spider pictured. My kids (ages 8 and 9) found it in our mudroom this morning. We live in Fennville, MI.

  26. I am totally freaked out by spiders - I had one of these in my dining room in the corner, and it's size (about a half dollar)was giving me the creeps! I sprayed it with spider spray, and the dang thing walked on the spray current half way to me before it dropped to the floor and dies. It was just plain creepy!

  27. We UNFORTUNATELY found one today....WITH WHAT SEEMED LIKE A MILLION LITTLE CREEPERS WITH IT! We were NOT as happy as the rest of you seem to be though. It is HUGE! I came to this site last summer to find out what the spider was that I found and it turned out to be a crab spider which I had never heard of. NOW I came to the site because I again did not know what this was! Turns out that it is a Fishing Spider. We live in Romulus with 14 acres of woods behind our house and a natural pond to the side of it. The one we found IS HUGE! Pop can? BIGGER! FAT! and a Momma! She was on our hose spiket slash house because she had half her body- legs I should say on EACH object! The babies were one HUGE black blob until our movement then they SCATTERED but Mom was lethargic and just intimidating to me and my fiancee'. She reared up at us when we sprayed her with water to get her out of there. I would send the picture if wanted but I was too scared to go close to it so I have to zoom it in then you can see EVERY SINGLE ICKY DETAIL of it. Sorry... we are NOT spider lovers AT ALL. Thank you for having this Spider page because since we have moved out here (to the country verses the city) I have seen so many strange spiders and other creepy crawlys that I have absolutely NO idea what they are, so again thank you!

  28. I found one dead in my decorative fountain pond, in Wellston Michigan, I didn't know what it was, but it was big. So, I looked up common Michigan Spiders. I knew it wasn't a Wolf spider, however I have never heard of the Fishing Spider.

  29. Tonight I discovered that one of these spiders made a big web between two of the bushes in my front yard. Inspired by my 8 year old son, I caught a lightening bug and threw it into the web. With my phone ready I took a cool video of the spider spinning a web around it's new meal. The poor bug kept lighting up as the spider spun and spun. I also got a good still picture of the spider. I am sending the video and picture to the e-mail you have listed at the top of this page.
    Thank you for supplying a very informative Michigan spider identification site.

    J. Bandy, Garden City Michigan

  30. I'm 100% certain this is the spider I saw in my basement a few years ago -- a moment burned into my young, arachnophobic mind! It was HUGE, splayed out on the narrow strip of carpeted floor just behind our bar. Maybe the lack of space and my fear made it seem larger than it was, but regardless, in terms of spiders, it was pretty big. Definitely not an arachnid I'd willingly tangle with...

    Anyways, I found a cool video shot by Youtuber subukai I thought I'd share:

  31. Just got back from a Camping trip at Island Lake State Park. These spiders were all over our cabin. I saw 7-8 of them on the outside walls of the cabin on Saturday and noticed them all throughout the weekend. They never really moved much unless you disturbed them. Biggest spider i had ever seen in michigan.

  32. Found one in my garden this past weekend, Romeo area. About the exact size in your photo. Thanks for the page, I was freaking out thinking the worst.

  33. I found onr in my daugters back pack!!!!!!! Omg, didnt notice unrtil it was on my arm!!!! Im glad i got helpto identify this beast!!

  34. got one in my garage right now with an egg sack under it... she is huge and purdy as hell.. close to 4 inchs

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