Species: Woodlouse-eating Spider (Dysdera crocata)

Family: Woodlouse Hunter Spiders (DYSDERIDAE)

Category: Arachnids

Location: Widespread

A. Arachnids

More extensive information on arachnids can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Woodlouse Hunter Spiders (DYSDERIDAE)

These voracious predatory spiders are specialist eaters of woodlice.

C. Woodlouse-eating Spider (Dysdera crocata)

Distinctive with its tawny-orange to dark red cephalothorax and legs contrasting with its beige to yellow-brown abdomen, this swift predator has large chelicerae (jaw pincers) with which to catch its only prey, woodlice. It will not go hungry in the cemetery.

Additional Information

Spider Information

Most British spiders are venomous hunters but are harmless to us. They are vitally important predators of insects and other invertebrates, controlling their populations. They inject their prey, either caught directly or in their webs, with digestive fluids and then suck out the resulting liquid mass. Most have eight eyes, though some have only six. Spiders are very numerous in the UK with about 650 species from 33 different families.

Unlike insects, young spiders hatch directly from the eggs, looking like miniature versions of the adults. They grow and reach maturity through a series of moults, and most will live about a year or a little longer. Not all spiders build webs, but all can produce silk from spinnerets, which is used for a variety of other purposes, like climbing, tethering, wrapping up prey, creating egg sacs, and making nests. The most familiar spider’s web in the British countryside is the orb web, but there are many other designs, some geometric to a degree, others with a loose or random framework of criss-cross silk threads.


Woodlouse-eating Spider

The Woodlouse-eating Spider is a swift predator with large chelicerae (jaw pincers) with which to catch its only prey, woodlice, one of which can be seen tucked into its burrow.

Woodlouse-eating Spider

The Woodlouse-eating Spider will not go hungry in Heene Cemetery.