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

6 comments:

  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?

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  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.

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  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!)

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  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....

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

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  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.

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