Four species of nursery web spiders in genus Pisaurina occur in North America north of Mexico. These streamlined spiders have long legs, slender bodies, and, often, lengthwise striping, helping them blend in with plant or grass stalks when they position themselves with legs outstretched before and behind them. Often, the front two pairs of legs are held together. Depending on species, growth stage, and individual color forms, the color ranges from blackish to brown, tan, rusty, grayish, or yellowish, and markings can vary, too. The hairs on their bodies and legs looks a little like suede.
Similar species: Fishing spiders in genus Dolomedes are in the same family as nursery web spiders, Pisauridae. This family is distinguished from the similar-looking wolf spiders (family Lycosidae) by carrying their egg sacs in their mouths (jaws or pedipalps) as opposed to attaching them to their spinnerets as wolf spiders do. Also, nursery web and fishing spiders have all eight eyes about the same size, while wolf spiders have two eyes that are noticeably larger.