Dysdera crocata (Woodlouse Hunter)

About Dysdera crocata

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Dysderidae
→ Genus: Dysdera
→ Species: Dysdera crocata

Other Common Names

Woodlouse Spider, Sowbug Killer, Slater Spider, Pillbug Hunter, Orange Spider

Author

Author of species name: Carl Ludwig Koch. First year published: 1838, as Dysdera crocota.

Pronunciation

diz-DAIR-uh cro-KAY-tuh

Meaning

Dysdera translates from the Greek adjective for “hard to fight against” (Cameron 2005). In Latin, crocata means “saffron-like (orange-colored).”

Notable Previous Names

Dysdera crocota

Identifying Traits of Dysdera crocata

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 11–15 mm; adult males range from 9-10 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Dysdera crocata

Eyes

Total of only six eyes (most spiders have eight). Eyes grouped closely together in a tight semi-circle.

Legs

Legs relatively slender and in proportion to body size; fairly shiny and smooth to the naked eye. Typically a bright orange color. Each tarsus (tip of leg) has 2 claws and what are called “claw tufts” (a cluster of hairs that help the spider climb).

Body

Cephalothorax is yellowish brown to deep reddish brown. Abdomen is tan, yellow-brown, or pale gray. Cephalothorax and abdomen nearly equal in size and both very shiny. Abdomen is an elongated, slightly flattened oval shape. Chelicerae (jaws) are large and the fangs exceptionally long.

Range of Dysdera crocata

Dysdera crocata can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

This species is native to Europe but has become widespread enough to be considered “cosmopolitan.” It is synanthropic (closely associated with humans), which has allowed it to hitchhike via commerce. If you have proof that this species lives in your state or province, and we have not listed it here, please contact us and we will update our range information.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

This species is found chiefly in urban gardens, fields, and forests. This includes under stones, logs, and in cellars in relatively moist, warm places. It occasionally strays indoors where it can be mistaken for Trachelas tranquillus and related species in that genus.

Web

This spider is an active nocturnal hunter that does not spin a prey-catching snare. It may reside in a silken retreat under stones, logs, or bark by day.

Season

Mature individuals may be found at all times of the year.

Food

Prey seems to be preferentially terrestrial isopod crustaceans known as woodlice (aka “sowbugs” and “pillbugs”), but any other arthropods it can catch are fair game. The long fangs help the spider to maintain a scissor-like grip on woodlice, while typically using only one fang to pierce the prey’s softer underbelly.

Lifecycle

Mature females mate and lay eggs sometime between May and July in their native Europe. The egg sac may contain around 70 eggs, and is guarded by the female inside her silken retreat. Individuals take about 18 months to mature, then survive an additional year or two on average.

Remarks

This species can be easily confused with spiders in the genus Trachelas, of family Corinnidae, because of their nearly identical coloring. Trachelas has eight eyes, however, in contrast to the small group of six eyes in Dysdera crocata. The Woodlouse Hunter is not the climber that Trachelas is, either. Both types of spiders may be encountered indoors on occasion.

Pictures of Dysdera crocata

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Salmon Beach, Tacoma
  • State: Washington
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Folsom Farm, Boulder County
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Folsom Farm, Boulder County
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Genitalia
  • City/Region: Folsom Farm, Boulder County
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Leiden
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Canton, Norfolk County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Canton, Norfolk County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Canton, Norfolk County
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Lateral
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Dysdera crocata
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Lakewood
  • State: Colorado
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: March 11, 2014

Follow Us

Search Spiders.us