A fishing spider that is not necessarily found close to water, the dark fishing spider often evokes alarm because of its large size. It is often misidentified as a wolf spider, tarantula, barn funnel spider, or some other type. It is mottled black and brown, with few white markings. The abdomen has dark W-shaped patterns on the upper surface. The legs, often held almost straight out, are often banded with brown and a darker color. This is not a web-building spider; instead, it is usually seen walking on the ground.
Similar species: The striped fishing spider (D. scriptus) also has dark W-shaped markings atop the abdomen, but they are bordered with white Ws that extend unbroken across the top of the abdomen, while any white markings on the dark fishing spider’s abdomen border only the outer edges of each dark W.