Dock spiders

This spider is huge!  I assume it is a she as the ball to the right of it is a mass of baby spiders that dispersed when I got too close…

I took the picture at the shoreline, well away from the cottage.  Dock spiders, also called fishing spiders or wharf spiders, live at the water’s edge as their name suggests.  They are the largest species of spider native to Canada; a female can reach up to 4 inches including her leg span.  This one was close to that.  Males are smaller.  Dock spiders can glide on the water and even submerge in the water to catch their prey.  They do not spin webs to catch their prey like other spiders.  The weblike casing around the babies is like a baby nursery that the female creates to protect her young on the shoreline when the eggs are ready to hatch.

Fortunately, dock spiders do not usually bite humans and will retreat when they hear us.  Their prey consists of insects and even small minnows.  So, eat away spiders, just stay away from my cottage…

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