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Common name
European garden spider (English), woodlouse spider (English), sow-bug killer (English), woodlouse hunter (English), slater-eating spider (English)
Dysdera crocota
Similar species
Loxosceles reclusa
Dysdera crocata has been introduced and may be established in parts of St Helena, however, its biostatus is not known for certain and as it is has not been monitored. D. crocata is a known Mediterranean-originating invasive in California, USA. It is unknown what affect it may be having on endemic invertebrates that inhabit similar niches.
Species Description
Dysdera crocata is up to 2 cm long with a bright reddish brown carapace (Ashmole & Ashmole 2004). The body length is reported as 1.1cm for the male and 1.4cm for the female (Australian Museum 2003). It has six eyes in a tight group, reddish-orange legs, a pale cream to pinkish-tan abdomen and a brown cephalothorax (head + thorax) (University of Nebraska–Lincoln 2008). The chelicerae (fangs) are long and divergent, probably as an adaptation to its diet of woodlice (Ashmole & Ashmole 2004). This medium-sized spider has three pair of legs directed forward and one pair back (University of Nebraska–Lincoln 2008).

Dysdera can be distinguished from young miturgids of the genus Tecution (which also have reddish coloration and large fangs) by the six eyes (Tecution species have eight widely spaced eyes). There is a possibility of confusion of young individuals with young prodidomids, which may be elongate and sometimes appear to have only 6 eyes (Ashmole & Ashmole 2004).

Dysdera crocata is often incorrectly spelled as Dysdera crocota C.L Koch 1839.
The bite of D. crocata is not considered dangerous but the large jaws can give a painful bite and may cause local redness and swelling (Australia Museum 2003).
Habitat Description
Dysdera crocata is usually found under wood or bark (University of California Berkeley Undated). D. crocata prefers to hide in sheltered, damp, ground habitats such as those provided by logs, rocks and rubbish, and is sometimes found in urban gardens under old bricks or paving (Australian Museum 2003).
Dysdera crocata does not make a web, instead building a silken sac-like retreat in which it rests, moults and lays eggs. The female will seal herself into her retreat with her eggs until they hatch and the spiderlings are ready to disperse (Australian Museum 2003).
Dysdera crocata hunts woodlice, members of the terrestrial crustacean order Isoptera which includes pillbugs and sowbugs; it is an active hunting spider feeding at night (University of Nebraska–Lincoln 2008).

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the EU-funded South Atlantic Invasive Species project, coordinated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)


Publication date: 2009-04-28

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2021) Species profile: Dysdera crocata. Downloaded from on 28-09-2021.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Dysdera crocata
  • europe
  • mediterranean area
Informations on Dysdera crocata has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Dysdera crocata in information
Arrival date
Species notes for this location
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Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Red List assessed species 0:
[1] Predation
[1] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Reduction in native biodiversity
Management information
11 references found for Dysdera crocata

Management information
Borges, P.A.V., Lobo, J.M., Azevedo, E. B., Gaspar, C., Melo, C. & Nunes, L.V. 2006. Invasibility and species richness of island endemic arthropods: a general model of endemic vs. exotic species. Journal of Biogeography 33: 169-187.
University of Nebraska�Lincoln 2008. UNL Extension in Lancaster County Insects, Spiders, Mice and More
Summary: Available from: [Accessed 3 November 2008]
General information
Ascension Island Conservation Centre, undated. Introduction to Ascension Island Invertebrates
Australian Museum, 2003. Factsheet Slater-eating Spider Dysdera crocata Family Dysderidae
Summary: Available from: [Accessed 3 November 2008]
College of Natural Resources. University of California - Berkeley. Undated. Common Synanthorpic Spiders in California.
Summary: Available from: [Accessed 3 November 2008]
CSIRO-Entomology, 2004. 3. Systematic Names: Dysdera crocata C.L. Koch
Summary: Available from: [Accessed 3 November 2008]
GesPlan, S.A.U., 2008. Dysdera crocata C.L. Koch, 1838
Mendel, H, Ashmole, P & Ashmole, M., 2008. Invertebrates of Central Peaks and Peakdale, St Helena. Unpublished report commissioned by St Helena National Trust, financed by Overseas Territories environmental Programme.
UniProt Taxonomy, 2008. Species Dysdera crocata (Woodlouse spider)
Summary: Available from: [Accessed 3 November 2008]
The following 0 contacts offer information an advice on Dysdera crocata
Dysdera crocata
European garden spider, woodlouse spider, sow-bug killer, woodlouse hunter, slater-eating spider
Date assessed
Year published
Eicat category
Justification for EICAT assessment
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Recommended citation
(2021). Dysdera crocata. IUCN Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT).