While many Louisianans are more than familiar with creepy, crawling wildlife, there's an eight-legged that has recently garnered attention – the Fishing Spider. This spider, one of the largest in North America, has gotten quite the buzz on social media.

Fishing spiders, as their name suggests, are adept hunters in and around water. These nocturnal creatures don’t weave webs to trap their victims. Instead, they actively hunt prey, which sometimes includes frogs and even small fish. Their prowess in hunting is so remarkable that KATC chief meteorologist Rob Perillo recently shared a post from the Atchafalaya Basinkeeper showcasing a fishing spider feasting on a small bullfrog.

While they are often compared to wolf spiders due to their hunting habits, fishing spiders are distinct in several ways. Unlike their burrowing counterparts, fishing spiders prefer to climb. This is why residents in the northeast often spot them on trees, logs, and even the walls of cabins. Interestingly, these spiders are not only excellent climbers but are also capable of "scuba diving" and walking on water, a fact that many find both fascinating and slightly unnerving.

What's even wilder, is that experts say fishing spiders are "even larger in the southern states" like Louisiana.

Despite their intimidating size, with females often being much larger, these spiders are known to be docile. They pose no threat to humans and, in fact, help control the population of other insects that may be bothersome to people. However, their appearance can be quite deceptive, especially for those with arachnophobia.

Online platforms like YouTube have seen a surge in videos and discussions about the Dark Fishing Spider. A video from July 2020 posed the question of whether we should fear these spiders or appreciate their presence. Comments ranged from individuals sharing their awe at the spider's size to others expressing their initial fear and eventual understanding of these creatures.

One user commented on their surprising encounter with the spider in an old farmhouse, saying, "I’d never seen a spider so big... While I’m not terrified of spiders, I am terrified of something oversized." Another shared their admiration, stating, "They are very docile, and quite content to just sit in your hand. They get so large here, some people mistake them for tarantulas."

According to Wikipedia, the genus Dolomedes, to which the Dark Fishing Spider belongs, is known for its semiaquatic nature. Most species live near water, with the exception of a few tree-dwelling ones. Their hunting technique involves detecting ripples from their prey and then swiftly moving across the water surface to capture it. Some species can even encase themselves in a silvery film of air as they climb beneath the water.

So, whether you're fascinated or fearful, one thing is certain – the Dark Fishing Spider is a true testament to the diverse wildlife that calls Louisiana home.

Even if they give straight nightmare fuel vibes.

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