Female Woodlouse spider, this species is specialized in hunting woodlice ©Ludwig Jansen

Woodlouse spider

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At night, the Woodlouse spider stalks it’s favourite prey: woodlice. The large jaws with long fangs are perfectly suited to inject venom underneath the heavy armour of woodlice.

Cell spiders (Dysderidae)


Woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata)

Web: the Woodlouse spider doesn’t make a catching web, but actively hunts its prey.

Habitat: Is found in a humid environment such as underneath stones, flower pots, bark, dead wood. In gardens and in parcs, but also in forests. Sometimes also indoors in humid cellars.

How to recognize:

  • big spider with large protruding fangs
  • easily recognizable by the strikingly red/orange coloured body
  • abdomen yellowish or grey

Looks similar to:

  • lesser woodlouse spider (Dysdera erythrina): only through detailed study using a stereomicroscope can the two species accurately be identified. On the other hand, he Lesser woodlouse spider is much more rare, is almost never found in or close by houses and is generally smaller and lighter of colour. Size and colour are, however, not reliable characteristics as a young Woodlouse spider also exhibits these.


♀: 11-15 mm

♂: 9-10 mm


♀: throughout the year, but with a peak from May till July

♂: throughout the year, but with a peak from May till July