dysderidae

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Woodlouse Hunter (Dysdera crocata)

Also known as the woodlouse spider or Stiletto spider, the woodlouse hunter is a species of dysderid spider that is native to the Neartic and was introduced to North America and parts of Africa, Australia and South America. Like other members of Dysderidae the woodlouse hunter sports very large chelicerae and a large yellow-brown abdomen.

As their common name might suggest woodlouse hunters feed exclusively on woodlice, using their large chelicerae to puncture the woodlouse’s shell. During the day the spend their time in a silken nest usually located in decaying wood. At night they emerge and go on the hunt for woodlice.

Woodlouse hunters have an unusual courtship ritual which consists of the two spiders aggressively ‘wrestling’ each other, with mates risking injury from their 'opponents’ chelicerae. After this the female will lay her eggs in a silken sac and look after them.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Arachnida-Araneae-Araneomorphae-Dysderidae-Dysdera-D.crocata

Images: Derrick Ditchburn and Tom Murray

March Spider the forth, based on this species (hence the colour scheme. The armour like appearance and the fact it is said to have large fangs inspired the look and twin swords.

Was already to colour this one when I decided to flip the canvas horizontally and found out she was smooth criminal-ing so I had to skew and rotate and stuff  and then redraw, so the final result is a tiny bit janky.

Everyone one of these I finish some more info on this race filters into my head. Might have to do some Dragon Age style codecs on them when I’m done. 

This spider was found in our office and we are located in Milwaukee, WI.  This could have traveled a box recently opened in our office, the nearest and most recently opened was from Altoona, PA.  There is a chance a box may have been recently opened from China or Vietnam.  The ladies in the office will thank you.

Hi, Ben!

The ladies may rest easy- that’s a harmless and US native woodlouse hunter, Dysdera crocata. Though they have rather large fangs, they won’t bite unless they feel threatened or cornered. She can be fairly easily caught in a cup and then released outdoors.

Thanks for sharing!

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Parastalita stygia

…a species of woodlouse hunter (Dysderidae) that has been recorded in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia. P.stygia was discovered in a cave and like its cosmopolitan cousin it probably lives on a diet of woodlice. However unlike D.crocata this species is much smaller (5-7mm) and has much longer legs.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Arachnida-Araneae-Araneomorphae-Dysderidae-Parastalia-P.stygia

Images: Fulvio Gasparo