Currently viewing the category: "Sow Bug Killers"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red Woodlouse Hunters, unfortunate carnage
Location: Maumee, Ohio
October 15, 2012 3:13 am
I was rearing one red woodlouse hunter, a side project from the usual friendly caterpillars, when I found a larger one roaming around in the dark hours of the night. I decided to attempt to rear them together… an obvious rookie mistake as the two mighty spiders began to square off for what looks like a fight to the death… I wish I would’ve done my research before introducing these two impressive spiders, a hard lesson learned.
Signature: Jake

Battle of the Woodlouse Hunters

Hi Jake,
Especially among predators, competition within a species for survival is often greater that inter-species competition.  Your letter did not indicate if the smaller captive was the victim.  Woodlouse Hunters or Sowbug Killers are actually quite amazing spiders.  They are an introduced species native to Europe.  For the record, we only tag postings as Unnecessary Carnage when a person kills a beneficial or harmless species out of fear, ignorance, cruelty or disgust.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large spider in shower- recluse?
Location: Boulder, Colorado
October 8, 2012 10:29 am
I found this spider this morning hiding behind my shampoo bottle in my shower. The spider was somewhat large- about an inch to an inch and a half if I had to estimate. It seemed to have very large mandibles. When it walked its legs surprised me by extending out exceptionally long in a radial way around its body. (In the picture the legs seem to be closer to the body making it look narrower). It also seemed to have the shiny texture of an earwig rather than a furry texture. I was told by a coworker it could be a brown recluse and am somewhat worried. Do you know what this spider is and if it is poisonous to me or my pets? The spider has since vanished I think into my shower curtain. Thank you!
Signature: Concerned spider coinhabitant

Woodlouse Hunter

Dear Concerned spider coinhabitant,
We really wish your photo had more detail.  The appearance and physical description your provided indicate to us that this really appears to be an endangered Red Legged Purseweb Spider, however, we are not aware of them being previously reported in Colorado.  BugGuide has sightings as far west as Texas.  We are going to seek more opinions on this matter.  It is most definitely NOT a Brown Recluse.


Eric Eaton provides correction
Daniel:
How I *wish* it was a purseweb!  This is “just” a Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera crocata.
Eric

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Startled sowbug killers evicted from compost heap :)
Location: SW Ohio, backyard compost heap
July 30, 2012 4:11 pm
I was in the process of moving a compost heap and overturned an old piece of plywood. Underneath were a zillion (nonscientific estimation) sowbugs and two very fat and happy sowbug killers. One was shy and ducked as I took a picture, the other was working on a tough-guy pose. Both spiders, along with a couple of others I found, were safely relocated to a more remote area.
Signature: Kitsa

Sowbug Killers

Hi Kitsa,
There aren’t many predators that will feed on Sowbugs, so Sowbug Killers, an introduced species of spider, are a very important component of the food chain.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Painting the town red!
Location: Southcoastal Massachusetts
November 13, 2011 12:35 pm
This spider was in my wood pile amongst MANY others.The reddish and two-toned coloring seemed odd. Recently I encountered another with a very different shape (not round abdomen) that was even more intese color red(unfortunately that one was not around long enough to pose for a pick) My question is what spiders are red and do spiders change colors depending on what they eat, environment, embarrassment etc?
Signature: Afraid of my wood pile:(

Sowbug Killer

Dear Afraid of my wood pile,
The spider in the photo is a Sowbug Killer or Woodlouse Hunter,
Dysdera corcata.  The bite of a Sowbug Killer is not considered dangerous, but it is possible that it may cause local tenderness.  Many spiders are red, and without a photo, it is difficult to speculate.  Sometimes spiders change color when they molt.  In your area, the only potentially dangerous spiders are the Widow Spiders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dulce de Leche Spider
March 13, 2010
Dear WTB,
Longtime reader, first-time inquiring. Cleaning out the woodpile is always a critter goldmine, so I made sure to have the camera handy. Sure enough, this fellow crawled out. He was VERY adverse to sunlight – scrambled immediately for shade/cover – but I did snap a few off before he vanished into the tall grass. I’ve lived here (SoCal) my whole life and have never seen his equal. He had a quarter-sized circumference (sorry I couldn’t get a coin down for reference) and his back half looked like an acrylic nail painted with dulce de leche. I would love an ID and my wife would like to know if he can bite/is poisonous (she doesn’t want it dead, but just wants to know how afraid she should be). Thank you!
greg
Venice, CA

Sowbug Killer

Hi Greg,
Thanks for the nice letter.  Your spider is a Sowbug Killer or Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera corcata.  The species is not native and was introduced from the Mediterranean region.  As with many other spiders, the bite is not dangerous, but it might be painful and cause local tenderness.  The Sowbug Killer is not aggressive, but it might bite if it is carelessly handled.

Thank you Daniel!  Your site rules.  I cannot wait for the book.
Because of WTB, I have totally started calling Potato Bugs “Jerusalem Crickets” which puzzles my friends but seems to comfort the wife…who is Israeli (and is anti-bug, particularly the abundance of silverfish living in her psych.books).

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Red Spider with Large Brown Shiny Abdomen
January 13, 2010
Found in the garage this morning next to a box that had been in storage for a long time and had been taken out.
It seems “shy” – it prefers to stay motionless with its legs drawn tightly to the body. I wasn’t even sure it was a spider at first since the abdomen resembles some kind of seed.
To take the photo and get it to extend its legs I had to shake the container a bit.
MAK
Malibu, CA

Sow Bug Killer

Sow Bug Killer

Hi MAK,
Your spider is Dysdera crocata, and BugGuide calls it by three different common names that refer to variations on the common name of its prey.  The names on BugGuide are Woodlouse Hunter, Sow Bug Hunter and Pill Bug Hunter, though Charles Hogue, in his wonderful book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, refers to it by the even more accurate name Sow Bug Killer.  The Biosecurity of New Zealand website calls this species a Slater Spider because Slater is a common name for the prey in New Zealand and Australia.  According to that site:  “Slater spiders originate in Europe but are now common throughout much of the world. They may be found throughout New Zealand and are common in suburban gardens.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination