Fishing spiders belong to the Pisauridae family and the Dolomedes genus. There are about 100 species in the world and a dozen species in North America, excluding Mexico. In Quebec, there are four species, all semi-aquatic: Dolomedes scriptus, Dolomedes tenebrosus, Dolomedes triton and Dolomedes striatus.
These spiders often attract attention because they are so large. The body of certain specimens, not counting their legs, can grow as long as 2.8 cm! Depending on species, their colouring varies from greyish brown to greenish brown. Females are generally larger than males.
After mating, the female spins a spherical silk cocoon in which she lays her eggs. She watches over it and carries it around with her, even on the water, until the eggs hatch. Before the spiderlings hatch, the female places the cocoon in leaves and spins a protective web shaped like a tent or a bell around it that serves as a nursery. The female protects the cocoon until spiderlings hatch. Once hatched, the spiderlings disperse.