Does The Dock Spider Bite? | Pestclue

Does the Dock Spider Bite?

The conspicuousness of the dock spider is attributed to its large size. Seemingly emerging unexpectedly, these entities manifest themselves at the waterfront, on the fabric used for drying oneself, or within the aqueous medium.

The organism possesses a bilateral symmetry, with a pair of ocular structures arranged in two parallel rows, resulting in a cumulative count of eight eyes.

The colouration of their bodies is characterised by a brownish-grey hue, while their legs exhibit a distinctive arrangement of alternating bright and dark rings.

Additionally, the ventral regions of their bodies exhibit brown pigmentation. Due to their shared characteristics, dock spiders are often mistakenly identified as indigenous North American striped fishing spiders or scriptus.


How Do I Describe the Dock Spider?

Dock Spider
Picture of the Dock Spider

These arachnids with abundant hair are readily observable due to their large physical dimensions.

These organisms may manifest unexpectedly at the waterfront, on your beach towel, or within the aquatic environment.

The organism possesses a bilateral arrangement of ocular structures, consisting of two parallel rows, each comprising four visual organs, thereby resulting in an aggregate count of eight eyes.

The colouration of their bodies is characterised by a brownish-grey hue, while their legs exhibit a distinctive arrangement of alternating bright and dark rings.

Additionally, the ventral regions of their bodies exhibit brown pigmentation. Due to their shared characteristics, dock spiders are often mistaken for indigenous North American striped fishing spiders or scriptus.

In the absence of contextual information, there is a potential for misidentification of certain species, leading to confusion with the taxonomic family Lycosidae, commonly referred to as Wolf Spiders.

The identification of this genus can be facilitated by the presence of two distinct rows of eyes, characterised by two larger eyes positioned at the uppermost part.

This particular ocular arrangement is exclusive to this genus within the Pisauridae family.

If the current information is deemed inadequate, one can further distinguish them based on their adaptations to aquatic environments.


Read also: Hidden Facts About the Barn Spider


How Do I Describe the Size of the Dock Spider?

Dock spiders are characterised by their relatively large size, which serves as a distinguishing feature from other spider species.

The maximum size attainable by this species is approximately 100 mm (equivalent to approximately 4 inches), thereby establishing it as the largest species found in Canada.

These spiders possess elongated legs and a pair of fangs, with dimensions comparable to that of a human palm.

The size disparity between female and male dock spiders is approximately twofold, with females being larger.

However, males of dock spiders surpass females in terms of population, exhibiting a threefold numerical advantage. The observed arachnid of considerable size is highly likely to be of the female gender.

Dock spiders do not employ webs as a means of ensnaring their prey. Instead of utilising a web structure, the organism employs a body of stagnant water to ensnare its prey.

To perceive the presence of mobile prey or a deceased insect, a dock spider may employ a strategy of extending its foremost appendages onto the water’s surface, thereby sensing vibrations.

The hair serves a vital role in detecting these subtle vibrations, while the eyes assist in locating and pursuing the prey. Insects, tadpoles, and juvenile fish are commonly regarded as preferred prey items by this species.

The venomous nature of a dock spider bite renders it capable of causing harm to smaller organisms, prompting them to promptly pursue their prey.


Read also: What Is So Unusual About the Bog Spider?


How Do I Describe the Behaviour of the Dock Spider?

Instead of engaging in terrestrial hunting or employing web-based waiting strategies, these spiders exhibit a unique hunting behaviour by traversing the surface of the water.

Their prey includes mayflies, other aquatic insects, and occasionally small fish. In the case of fishing spiders, the water surface fulfils a comparable role to that of a web for spiders belonging to other species.

The organisms extend their lower limbs onto the substrate, actively sensing vibrations emitted by potential prey.

Dolomedes, a genus of spiders, exhibit nocturnal hunting behaviour, strategically feeding during periods of avian dormancy, as birds serve as their primary predators.

The insects employ a technique wherein they secure their posterior limbs to the shoreline while maintaining a prone position on the water’s surface, extending their limbs in the process.

The Dolomedes species exhibit a robust physique characterised by sturdy legs, enabling them to capture and subdue prey that surpasses their size.

The animals extend their anterior limbs and assume a posture of anticipation, resembling a state of attentiveness.

The arachnid’s anterior appendages perceive the oscillations transmitted through the aqueous medium, akin to how other members of the arachnid class detect vibrations within their intricate silk networks.

In addition to detecting the origin of the vibrations, the spiders possess the ability to perceive both the distance and direction of the source.

In pursuit of this objective, arachnids possess a variety of sensory organs specialised in detecting vibrations, such as highly receptive hairs known as trichobothria located on their legs and feet.

The visual perception of these spiders assumes a subordinate function, as evidenced by experiments conducted on closely related species, which indicate that touch serves as the primary sensory modality employed by these arachnids for capturing their prey.

The visual capabilities of these creatures are limited in facilitating nocturnal hunting. The vibration detectors also function as a means for the spider to be alerted of potential threats, including predators like trout.

Certain species of fishing spiders exhibit a prompt response when detecting the presence of a distressed insect nearby.

These spiders swiftly traverse the surface of the water to capture the prey before it has the opportunity to evade their grasp by submerging beneath the water’s surface.

Certain species of fishing spiders employ silk draglines as a means to impede excessive velocity and avoid surpassing their prey.

The primary diet of fishing spiders consists of aquatic insects; however, they exhibit opportunistic feeding behaviour and consume any suitable prey that comes within their vicinity.

In North America, Dolomedes spiders have been documented engaging in the capture and consumption of diminutive goldfish.


Read also: The Amazing Evolution of the Pet Omothymus Spider



Fortunately, it has been observed that dock spiders do not engage in biting behaviour. The primary constituents of their diet consist of small fish and aquatic insects.

When these arachnids perceive a threat or inadvertently find themselves in close proximity to a person’s attire, they have the potential to engage in biting behaviour.

Despite the lack of harm posed by dock spiders to humans, they possess the capability to administer their venom upon close proximity.

The potency of the venom is relatively low, thus it lacks the ability to induce numbness on the skin. Thanks for reading!



Why Does the Dock Spider Spin Webs?

The silk generated by dock spiders is exclusively utilised for the purpose of manufacturing egg sacs. A solitary ovipositor possesses the capacity to yield offspring in the range of up to one thousand juvenile spiders.

The egg sac is transported within the oral cavity of the maternal spider, resembling a substantial mass of cotton.

The arachnid constructs a fresh web in close proximity to her unhatched eggs as a precautionary measure, aiming to shield her offspring from potential threats.

About The Author

Discover more from Pestclue

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.