Dysdera crocata

Woodlouse spider Dysdera crocata

Dysdera crocata by Martin Askins
Dysdera crocata by Martin Askins

This is an unmistakable spider, with its red-brown carapace, pale greyish to pinkish abdomen and distinctive, large, forward facing red-brown chelicerae (jaws). Provided it is dry, it can be found beneath stones, brickwork, rockery stones, old iron and logs. Occasionally it will appear indoors. Dysdera crocata is a free-living hunter that does not build a web to catch prey. During the day it hides in a silken cell beneath a favoured piece of rock or brick where it is frequently encountered by gardeners and builders alike.

At night they venture on hunting trips looking for their favourite prey - woodlice. Armed with huge, forward-facing chelicerae, they are able to catch and kill this tough prey. Woodlice Spiders are one of the very few British species that are capable of giving a painful bite (see spider bites). A close relative, D. erythrina occurs in more natural habitats.

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