Dysdera Crocata – Woodlouse Spider

As the name suggests, the Dysdera crocata, or commonly called woodlouse spider, primarily preys on woodlice. The spider can be found all around the world. In the United States, it is mostly seen in the states along the East Coast until Wisconsin and the Mississippi River. Signification populations also exist on the West Coast from Washington to California.

Woodlouse Hunter
The woodlouse spider. Photo: K.J.Ester – Madison Heights, Michigan

Description of the Woodlouse Spider

The woodlouse hunter has long legs and large fangs. Since it is a hunter spider, these fangs are needed to pierce through the tough exoskeleton of its favorite prey: woodlice. They have a reddish cephalothorax and legs and a light-brown abdomen.

Abdomen – Oblong smooth but dull look to it. Usually a cream or tan color.

Cephalothorax – Near the same size as the Abdomen. It Has a dark brick red color with large chelicerae (fangs).


Unlike most other spiders who have eight eyes, the woodlouse hunter has six eyes, all located in the center of the frontal cephalothorax (head).

Dysdera crocata woodlouse hunter closeup eyes high resolution
A closeup of the eyes and fangs of a woodlouse hunter. Photo used with permission from Chase Noble.


Female woodlouse spiders grow up to 0.6 inches (15 mm) and male specimen up to 0,4 inches (10 mm). Including its legs, the spider can reach twice that size.

Woodlouse Spider found in Arizona
A Woodlouse Spider found in Yarnell, AZ. Photo: Amy


As a hunter spider, the woodlouse spider does not spin a web in order to catch its prey. It can usually be found in areas where woodlice appear and hunts at night.

Woodlouse Hunter Bite

As for most other spider species in the United States, a bite of the woodlouse hunter is slightly painful and may lead to some itchiness or redness. But other than that, there is no actual harm to humans or pets.

However, the woodlouse hunter can have a similar appearance to the venomous and dangerous brown recluse spider. In case of uncertainty or if you feel strange, it is better to still consult a professional after being bitten from what appears to be a woodlouse hunter.

Scientific Classification of Dysdera crocata

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Dysderidae
  • Genus: Dydera
  • Species: Dysdera crocata

Common Names

Next to its most common name woodlouse spider, the Dysdera crocata spider is also referred to under the following names: woodlouse hunter, sow bug hunter, pill bug hunter, slater spider, sow bug killer.

Distribution of the Woodlouse Spider in the USA

Dysdera Crocata – Woodlouse Spider range

The woodlouse spider can be found along the east coast, east of the Mississippi River and along the West coast from Washington to South California. The woodlouse hunter can be found in the following states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Woodlouse Spider
Photography by: Michelle Doerstling – Arlington, Virginia
Dysdera Crocata - Woodlouse Hunter
Photography by: Mitch Walters – Lexington, Kentucky
Dysdera Crocata – Woodlouse Spider

20 thoughts on “Dysdera Crocata – Woodlouse Spider

  1. Greetings,
    This spider is a very red spider. Located near Madison wisconsin at a friends house. The grout over which the spider is walking is about 3/8”.
    What type is it please?
    Thank you.

  2. We live in Spokane WA my sister by accident found it on the under side of a black bucket she picked up. Redish orange legs at first it looked like it had a Black body but once we put it into my nieces insect container that has a magnifying lens it has a lighter tanish brown body. I think it’s a woodland spider but not sure.

  3. Trying to figure out what kind of spider this is? Found in a basement bedroom in Washington State. Thank you!

  4. The attached photo is of a spider i found in my kitchen sink today. It appears to be the same type as shown after I answered the identification questions and selected a photo. Would you confirm that its the harmless type. Also is there specific type of bait or insecticide to catch spiders of this size. I think I was just lucky to spot in the kitchen sink – A bait set would have taken care of the intruder – Thanks in advance

  5. Wondering if you can help identify this spider. I am sorry for the poor picture quality. It was found inside my house in Boise, Idaho. Thank you.

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