slater eating spider Click to enlarge image
- Image: Jade Craven
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    crocata
    Genus
    Dysdera
    Family
    Dysderidae
    Suborder
    Araneomorphae
    Order
    Araneae
    Class
    Arachnida
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Female 1.4 cm; Male 1.1 cm

Introduction

The introduced Slater-eating Spider, has a strong aversion to ants, which may help to limit its distribution in Australia.

Identification

The Slater-eating Spider has a reddish upper body and legs, with a white-grey cylindrical abdomen. The fangs are quite prominent and project forward.

Habitat

The Slater-eating Spider prefers to hide in sheltered, damp, ground habitats such as those provided by logs, rocks and rubbish, and is sometimes found in urban gardens under old bricks or paving.

Distribution

The Slater-eating Spider, Dysdera crocata, is thought to have been introduced into Australia from Europe and only occurs in the south-eastern part of the continent. It appears that this spider has a strong aversion to ants, which may help to limit its distribution in Australia.



Feeding and diet

The Slater-eating Spider gets its name from its liking for woodlice or slaters (Isopoda), which it grasps with its specially elongated fangs.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Slater-eating Spider does not make a web, instead building a silken sac-like retreat in which it rests, moults and lays eggs.

Life history cycle

The female Slater-eating Spider will seal herself into her retreat with her eggs until they hatch and the spiderlings are ready to disperse.

Danger to humans

The bite of the Slater-eating Spider is not considered dangerous but the large jaws can give a painful bite and may cause local redness and swelling.