Continuing the trend of covering common household friends that you have probably seen at least once if not multiple times, let’s take a peek at the woodlouse spider, even though you probably don’t want to because it’s goddamn hideous. If you’ve seen one of these before, you will remember it, and now you know what it is!
Quick Spider Facts
Latin name: Dysdera crocata
While it is native to Europe, it has been transported worldwide by human activity and is common in many populated areas.
D. crocata is around 10 to 15 mm in body length, with females slightly larger than males.
While they can easily bite people, the resulting wound is reportedly less painful than a bee sting and is not medically significant.
The woodlouse spider is so named because it is one of the main predators of woodlice, and they make up its entire diet. It has developed enormously strong fangs for puncturing the thick woodlouse shell, and makes short work of them. D. crocata is an active nocturnal hunter. It likes to shelter in warm places, which often brings them into homes; while they are not a problem, they are also not particularly useful for pest control (woodlice being benign) and as such their presence in a house is functionally neutral.
There is a very similar species D. erythrina which is much more reclusive and tends not to live in heavily populated areas.
As their fangs are so huge, they quite often end up injuring each other while mating (and they’re pretty aggressive towards each other, so they’re not really trying very hard to avoid it). The female spider will care for her young until they are large enough to go hunting pillbugs by themselves.
On a personal note, this was the first spider I ever deliberately looked up information on. I saw one as a child, was fascinated by how incredibly ugly I found it, and needed to know what it was! I always liked spiders, but this was the first one I felt compelled to actually learn about, and now here we are. Blame D. crocata for the existence of this blog.
tldr: a good spider with a gross peanut lookin butt