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Woodlouse Spider

Are you looking for a mysterious and fascinating 8-legged creature to add to your home? Look no further than the woodlouse spider! Woodlouse spiders, also known as Dysdera crocata, are unique arachnids that can be found worldwide in relatively moist areas. From their unusual body shape and diet to their strange movements, these little critters offer an exciting look into the natural world from the comfort of your own home. In this post, you will learn more about woodlouse spiders and how they fit into our ecosystem.

Woodlouse Spider
Woodlouse Spider

Woodlouse Spider Description

Woodlouse spiders, also known as Dysdera crocata, are unique arachnids that belong to the family Dysderidae. As the name suggests, these spiders typically reside in areas that are relatively moist, such as damp soil, leaf litter, and under rocks or logs. They have a flattened, oval-shaped body and are typically about 1cm in length, with their males being slightly smaller than females. The woodlouse spider has distinctive body markings, with its dorsal surface sporting a rich body color ranging from reddish-brown to dark brown. Their ventral surface is pale, and the spiders have eight long, spindly legs coated in short, dark hairs.

Woodlouse Spider Habitat

Woodlouse spiders have a diverse distribution around the world and can be found in various types of habitats. They are mostly found in areas with high moisture, such as damp soil, decaying plants, and under rocks or logs. These spiders often inhabit gardens, woodlands, and parklands, where they can find shelter and an ample supply of their favorite prey. These spiders are commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North America, but they can be found throughout the world. Woodlouse spiders are unique arachnids that are well-adapted to their specific habitats. They can survive in a wide range of temperatures and moisture levels, and they are particularly active during the night when humidity levels are higher and other insects are more active. The spiders are also highly specialized in their food sources, as they mainly feed on woodlice, sowbugs, and millipedes. This diet allows them to play an important role in regulating the population of these insects, which can often become pests in gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Woodlouse Spider Diet

Woodlouse spiders are fascinating creatures with a unique diet that sets them apart from other spider species. These arachnids mainly feed on woodlice, sowbugs, and millipedes, which are common inhabitants of their natural habitats such as gardens, woodlands, and parklands. These insects are plentiful in these areas, and the spiders’ diet plays an essential role in regulating their population. What makes the woodlouse spider’s diet so fascinating is the specialized mouthparts that allow them to pierce through their prey’s exoskeleton and suck out their bodily fluids. This means that the spiders do not need to consume the entire body of their prey but can extract the essential nutrients they require. This feeding strategy has allowed the woodlouse spider to adapt to its specific habitat and thrive in a variety of environments. Despite preferring a specific diet, woodlouse spiders are opportunistic predators and can consume other insects if their preferred prey is not available. This adaptability is crucial for their survival, especially during periods of food scarcity. However, their ability to consume other insects does not take away from their role in regulating the populations of woodlice, sowbugs, and millipedes, which can become pests and cause damage to plants and crops.

Woodlouse Spider Image
Woodlouse Spider Image

Woodlouse Spider Size

Woodlouse spiders are generally small in size, with adults typically reaching a body length of 5-12 mm. Females are usually larger than males, with a slightly broader abdomen. Their body is elongated, flattened, and blackish-brown in color. As with other spider species, their body is divided into two main regions: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. The cephalothorax, or head and thorax, is covered with a hard exoskeleton and holds their eyes, fangs, and legs. The abdomen is soft and contains the spider’s internal organs and reproductive system. While woodlouse spiders are not particularly large, they are well-equipped for their specific ecology and hunting style. Their long, spindly legs and flattened bodies allow them to squeeze into tight spaces and remain hidden from predators and prey alike. They also have excellent eyesight, which, combined with their nimble movement, allows them to quickly detect and capture their preferred prey.

Woodlouse Spider Lifespan

Woodlouse spiders, also known as Dysdera crocata, are fascinating creatures that play an important role in regulating insect populations. In addition to their specialized diet and unique hunting skills, they are relatively short-lived. On average, woodlouse spiders live for 1 to 2 years. During their lifespan, woodlouse spiders go through several phases of development, shedding their exoskeleton and increasing in size with each molt. The duration of each stage can vary depending on environmental factors such as temperature and food availability. It can take up to 9 months for the spider to reach maturity. Once they reach adulthood, Woodlouse spiders are active during the summer and fall, mating and reproducing before the onset of colder weather. Despite the challenges they face, woodlouse spiders continue to thrive in a range of habitats, from forests and meadows to urban environments. Their unique characteristics and important role in regulating insect populations make them a valuable part of the natural world.

Woodlouse Spider Behavior

Woodlouse spiders have a fascinating and unique set of behaviors that contribute to their success as a species. These arachnids are specialized hunters that have adapted to specific ecological niches. They are also highly adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats, from forests and meadows to urban environments. Woodlouse spiders also have a range of defensive behaviors that help protect them from predators. They may curl up into a ball or release a noxious odor as a defense mechanism. They may also use their long legs to fend off predators, or simply retreat to a more secure location. Overall, the woodlouse spider’s behavior is fascinating and complex. These spiders have adapted to specific ecological niches and are highly specialized hunters. They are also highly adaptable and able to survive in a range of environments. Their unique characteristics and behaviors make them a valuable part of the natural world.

Woodlouse Spider Picture
Woodlouse Spider Picture

Woodlouse Spider Speed

Woodlouse spiders are known for their impressive speed and agility. These arachnids can move quickly over short distances in order to capture prey or escape predators. Their long, spindly legs allow them to negotiate rough surfaces with ease and they have excellent eyesight that enables them to detect movement from far away. However, woodlouse spiders are not particularly fast over long distances. When running on flat ground, they reach speeds of up to 7 centimeters per second, which is relatively slow compared to other spider species. They may also tire after prolonged periods of activity and will rest if given the opportunity.

Woodlouse Spider Hunting

Woodlouse spiders are known for their unique hunting tactics, which revolve around their exceptional eyesight and incredible agility. They are ambush predators, which means that they lie in wait for their prey rather than pursuing it actively. When hunting, woodlouse spiders position themselves in a strategic location where they can remain hidden from their prey. They may choose to wait on the underside of a leaf or on the bark of a tree, where they can remain camouflaged and undetected. Once their prey comes into view, woodlouse spiders use their excellent eyesight to track it with precision. When the moment is right, woodlouse spiders strike with lightning speed. They use their long, spindly legs to lunge at their prey and grab hold of it tightly. Their legs are specially adapted for hunting, with long spines that allow them to grip onto their prey and hold it in place.

Woodlouse Spider Interaction with Humans

Woodlouse spiders are generally harmless to humans and other large mammals. They rarely bite humans, but if they feel threatened they may do so as a defensive measure. However, the venom of woodlouse spiders is not particularly harmful to humans, so any bite that does occur will likely only cause minor discomfort or skin irritation. In some cases, people may find woodlouse spiders living in their homes or gardens. This can be an alarming sight, especially if there are large numbers present. Woodlouse spiders do not typically pose a significant threat to human health and safety, however, it is important to remove them from the area promptly to avoid any potential issues.

Woodlouse Spider Facts
Woodlouse Spider Facts

Woodlouse Spider Reproduction

Like all spiders, woodlouse spiders reproduce through a process called sexual reproduction. This involves the transfer of sperm from a male to a female during mating. After mating, the female will lay eggs in an egg sac, which she then carries around until they hatch. Depending on the species, this sac may be carried by the female or attached to her web. The number of eggs laid can range from several dozen to hundreds for some species. Once the eggs have hatched, young woodlouse spiderlings emerge and disperse into their environment. Woodlouse spiders typically reach maturity within 1 to 2 years from hatching. This makes them relatively short-lived compared to other species, but their ability to reproduce quickly makes them well-suited for rapidly changing environments.


Woodlouse spiders are small, but highly impressive animals. They have a variety of adaptations that make them perfectly suited to their environment, from the specialized structure of their legs to the venom they use for hunting and defense. Their remarkable speed and agility also allow them to hunt with precision and capture even relatively large prey. Overall, woodlouse spiders are an important part of many ecosystems around the world. They play a vital role in controlling insect populations and keeping nature in balance. Despite their diminutive size, woodlouse spiders are incredibly powerful and efficient hunters, making them one of nature’s most fascinating creatures.

Frequently Asked Question


No, the woodlouse spider is not poisonous to humans, although it may deliver a painful bite if provoked or threatened. Its venom is not considered medically significant.


Woodlouse spiders are commonly found in Europe and North America, and prefer damp habitats such as leaf litter, logs, and under rocks or other debris.


Woodlouse spiders primarily feed on woodlice and other small arthropods, which they capture using their speed and agility, as well as their venomous fangs. They are also known to occasionally consume other spiders.


Female woodlouse spiders lay their eggs in a silk cocoon, which they guard until the spiderlings emerge. The spiderlings undergo several molts before reaching adulthood and becoming sexually mature.


The lifespan of a woodlouse spider typically ranges from one to two years, but can vary depending on environmental conditions and availability of food.


The scientific name of the woodlouse spider is Dysdera crocata, also known as the woodlouse hunter spider due to its habit of preying on woodlice.
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