T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Slater spider (Dysdera crocata)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Araneomorphae
Family: Dysderidae
Genus: Dysdera
Species: D. crocata
Binomial name: Dysdera crocata
Common names: Slater spider, Woodlouse spider, Woodlouse hunter, Sowbug hunter, Sowbug killer, Pillbug hunter.

Dysdera crocata is a species of nocturnal spiders that originates in the Mediterranean area but are now common throughout much of the world and are found throughout New Zealand in suburban gardens usually under logs in a silken retreat.
Dysdera crocata preys exclusively upon woodlice (Porcellio scaber). The female is 15–30 mm long, while males are 10–15 mm (excluding the legs). The cephalothorax (the fused head and thorax) and legs are red-orange and the abdomen is cream to pale coffee-coloured. These spiders only have six eyes rather than the usual eight. The chelicerae (the structures that bear the fangs) project forward and are quite large relative to the size of the spider. They do not use a web to capture their prey, they it grabs it with heir large chelicerae (fangs).

This spider with its large fangs is capable of delivering a sharp bite. Symptoms include local swelling and pain. However, bites are rare, and only a handful of bites by this species have been recorded from New Zealand.

A female spider.


A male spider.