Currently viewing the category: "Sow Bug Killers"

Geographic location of the bug:  HOAGLAND INDIANA
Date: 01/16/2019
Time: 10:10 AM EDT
How you want your letter signed:  JODI W.

Sowbug Killer

Dear Jodi,
You are correct.  This is a Woodlouse Hunter or Sowbug Killer and it is not dangerous.

Thank you.  Since it’s winter here, and colder than a witch’s heart, I have it in a small terrarium and offered some crickets.We will see if it survives, it’s worth the effort.   It it such a cool spider.
Thank you so much!!!  I was surprised to find it, they aren’t normally found in Indiana are they?

Hi Jodi,
BugGuide does include Indiana in the range of the Sowbug Killer, and it even ranges north into Ontario.

Cool thanks so much, you are terrific!!

Subject: bug in my pool
Location: Jessup PA
June 2, 2017 4:56 am
Can you id this creature?
Signature: Bob Goodwin

Sowbug Hunter

Dear Bob,
This Spider,
Dysdera crocata, is commonly called a Sowbug Hunter.  According to BugGuide:  “Primary prey is isopods; hence the large chelicerae and fangs” and “Bites by the woodlouse spider, Dysdera crocata, are virtually innocuous. The main symptom is minor pain, typically lasting less than 1 hr, probably due mostly to the mechanical puncture of the skin.”

Subject: Weird little red dude
Location: Portland, oregon
March 25, 2017 6:47 pm
I live in Portland Oregon and today I spotted this little dude outside trying to crawl into the garage. I’d say he was the size of a dime.
Can’t figure out what he is!
Signature: Sarah

Woodlouse Hunter

Dear Sarah,
This BugGuide image is nearly identical to your Woodlouse Hunter,
Dysdera crocata, is “The only member of the family in NA” according to BugGuide.  BugGuide also notes:  “Introduced to North America and widely distributed in the Neartic” and “Primary prey is isopods; hence the large chelicerae and fangs.”

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.

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
How I *wish* it was a purseweb!  This is “just” a Woodlouse Hunter, Dysdera crocata.

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.