The male is 1/4 to 1/2 inches in body size; the female is 5/8 to 1 inch in body size with a leg span of over 3 inches. Body and legs are brownish gray and marked extensively with blackish-brown. They resemble wolf spiders but have a more flattened cephalothorax.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
New England and adjacent areas of Canada in woods near a stream or pond.
This spider hunts widely, finding prey on water surface, in water and on land. Occasionally they may capture tadpoles and small fishes near the water's surface, but they usually prey on insects.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Female carries egg mass in chelicerae (fangs), even when running across open water. As hatching approaches, she builds a nursery web, suspending the egg sac among the strands. She rests nearby until almost all the spiderlings have dispersed.
If disturbed near water, this spider may creep below the surface and remain there motionless for 30 minutes or more. Air clinging to body hair is sufficient to breathe under water. Their slight weight and leg hairs give them buoyancy and allow them to walk on the water surface, however they must cling to underwater leaves or stems to stay under the surface and not bob back up.
The family Pisauridae are known as the Nursery Web Spiders. They do not build webs to catch prey, but use their silk to construct a special nest for the young.
Several in the Children's Zoo.
STATUS IN WILD: