Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spider surprise: The Sow Bug Killer

what type of spider
While weeding, I lifted up a rock and saw this fanged creature sitting quietly in the dirt. I quickly pulled out my camera, took this shot, and placed the rock back into place, very careful not to smush the guy.

In the Family Dysderidae, Dysdera crocata
Common name: Sow Bug Killer

Easy to find online since it is so distinctive: long orange legs, large shiny body, fangs. Apparently, this is an invasive species, originally from Europe. It is not known to bite humans as far as I can tell, though feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Rather, the fangs are used to pierce the armor of the sowbugs, plenty in my garden as you can see in the photo. In my eyes, he/she looks like a very shiny tarantula.

The local Natural History Museum site on the local spiders, scroll down
On Cincibugs
Berkeley based site, scroll down


  1. I have learnt two things from your post: firstly the identity of that ghastly-looking spider. Secondly the name "sowbug". These are evidently what we in the UK call "woodlice". What's in a name though?

  2. Thanks for dropping by! Appreciate your comments. I learned something from you as well: woodlice. It makes me wonder how these things get their common names.

  3. What an intimidating spider.. I found a large hairy tarantula IN my house once. My husband used a fishing net to catch him and then he asked if I wanted to take a photo of it before he released in back into the wild. I wish I would have been as calm as you were to take a photo, but I just wanted it out of my house! (I call a sowbug a Roly-Poly!)

  4. Hi Rebecca! I think a large hairy creature would warrant a few screams from me. This guy was tiny. I was just worried he might be one of the jumping spiders. I bet there is someone out there who is in the know about the names of these little round things. I'll take a look....

  5. Wow! What a shot! The spider is looking really so wonderful. I have never seen like this type of spider. Thanks.

  6. Sowbug killer spider or wood lice spider they come from europe. They eat rolly pollies and their fangs are for piercing their shells. They r not poisionous but they can bite when handled.

  7. I just found a much smaller one in my mpls garden level (basement, let's be honest) apartment. The bright purple body with the color fading to bright orange through the legs brought me to smoosh it... Theres already snow outside otherwise i wanted to release it. I have a feeling it wasn't the only one here...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...