Shudder with each millimeter of these hamster-sized arachnids found in Wisconsin.
Look up a picture of a “fishing spider,” a Dolomedes tenebrosus, and your body will shudder with each millimeter of its legspan. On average, that’s either 50 or 90 mm (depending on gender), a distinction that’s quickly lost when you’re holding one of these hamster-sized arachnids in your hand. Fishing spiders prey on crickets and even tadpoles through aggressive hunting and ambush tactics, when they’re not terrifying boaters or inducing a collective tremble on social media. But experts say bites are rare and hurt no more than a bee sting. “Let them be,” says Linda Williams, a forest health specialist for the Wisconsin DNR who says there’s no evidence that populations are growing. “They eat insects that aren’t native, and that’s beneficial.”