Sowbug Killer Spider (Dysdera crocata)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Sowbug Killer Spider, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/13/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 pill bug, wood louse, or roly poly, depending on where you live. Their coloration can range from a red thorax and ivory abdomen to a more purple thorax and tan abdomen. They have six eyes and those are arranged in an oval shape. Females are almost twice as large as males.
This spider is an active hunter, but it does have a lair. Inside, the remains of previous meals are usually found. It does not form webs to catch its prey. Instead, it finds a prey item (sow bug) and uses its giant chelicerae (jaws) to stab it in an ambush attack. Their venom is not toxic, but some people may experience itching at the site of a spider bite. This spider is not aggressive, nor interested in humans so bites are not common.
They use their silk to strengthen their homes, which are usually built under rocks, moss or tree bark. They can be found anywhere: fields, parking lots, gardens, etc. They are equally at home in urban, suburban and rural areas as are their favorite prey item (sow bugs). Look for them in the spring and summer, when they are most active. It is believed they overwinter as adults and reproduce in the spring.