The Sowbug Killer is adept at keeping the local Roly Poly (or Sowbug) population under control.
This spider's favorite meal is the Sowbug, also known as a wood louse. The spider's coloration can range from a red thorax and ivory abdomen to a more purple thorax and tan abdomen. It has six eyes and they are arranged in an oval shape. Females are almost twice as large as males.
The Sowbug Killer is an active hunter, but it does have a lair. A Sowbug Killer uses its spider silk to strengthen its retreat, which is usually built under rocks, moss, or tree bark. Inside, the remains of previous meals are usually found. It does not form webs to catch its prey. Instead, it finds a sow bug and uses its giant chelicera to stab it in an ambush attack. This spider is not aggressive, nor is it interested in humans so bites are not common. Should one occur it is usually a defensive bite, but its venom is not toxic to people. That said, some people may be more sensitive and experience itching in addition to pain at the site of a spider bite.
This spider can be found anywhere: fields, parking lots, gardens, etc. It is equally at home in urban, suburban, and rural areas which conveniently is where its favorite prey item likes to live. It is likely that they overwinter as adults and reproduce in the spring. Look for Sowbug Killers in the spring and summer, when they are most active.
Scientific Name: Dysdera crocata
Other Name(s): Woodlouse Spider, Woodlouse Hunter
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 15mm (0.35in to 0.59in)
Colors: brown; red; yellow; ivory; orange; purple; tan
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).