Le paradis des araignées géantes — Dolomedes tenebrosus

Giant spiders that match weight with tarantulas? Yes, just like in Europe, the Dolomedes spiders are also found in North America. In Quebec, at the beginning of August, Dolomedes tenebrosus (Dark Fishing Spider) invade the banks of rivers with their egg sacks.

Dark fishing Spider - Dolomedes tenebrosus with her egg sackDark fishing Spider – Dolomedes tenebrosus with her egg sac

At the Parc régional de la rivière Gentilly, it is only a matter of lifting a rock along the Gentilly or Beaudet river to find a Dolomedes Spider. In early August, they all seem to have their egg sac. Each bag can hold a thousand or so eggs.

Dolomedes tenebrosus in her nursing webDolomedes tenebrosus in her nursing web

The Dolomedes tenebrosus is a semi-aquatic spider which hunts insects, tadpoles and small fish along rivers, thus the name, Dark Fishing Spider. Dolomedes spiders don’t weave webs to capture their prey. The females will however weave a nursing web for their eggs to hatch in.

Juvenile  Dolomedes tenebrosus spider and her egg sac Juvenile Dolomedes tenebrosus spider and her egg sac

Young Dolomedes tenebrosus spiders are naturally smaller. They are also distinguishable by the greenish color found on their hind legs.

Dark Fishing Spider - Dolomedes tenebrosusDark Fishing Spider – Dolomedes tenebrosus

This time around, most Dolomedes spiders I found fit in the palm of my hand. I’ve previously met a Dolomedes spider in a tree that easily covered the entire surface area of my hand.

At the Parc régional de la rivière Gentilly, you can camp right along the Beaudet river. Yes, with the Giant Dark Fishing Spiders in their natural habitat.

The jackpot however is the Gentilly river itself. With it’s rock face cliffs, it offers the ideal environment for the Dark Fishing Spiders. The water is warmer, more exposed to the Sun, therefore more food for the Dolomedes spiders.

Whether you stay the day or for overnight camping, the Parc régional de la rivière Gentilly provides an ideal environment for nature and wildlife photography. There is a wide variety of insects and mushrooms for macro photography. With a large network of trails, one is sure to find a photographic topic of interest.

For more information visit the web site for the Parc régional de la rivière Gentilly : http://www.rivieregentilly.com/

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