Are woodlouse spiders poisonous?

 The United States has gained a lot from its mother country, Britain. In addition to the common language and literature, many domestic animals came to the United States through their British ancestors. Ships transporting settlers and livestock also brought undocumented creatures, including the woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata). This British invader now lives in most parts of the United States, especially in a climate somewhat reminiscent of the homeland of his ancestors.  In this article, we will find out if woodlouse spiders are poisonous or not.

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What do woodlouse spiders look like?

One thing to note about this spider is its unique appearance and ease of identification. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to distinguish from its cousin Dysdera erythrina, but this species is not shared.

Female woodlouse spiders are between 2/5 inches and 3/5 inches in size, while males are slightly smaller, and their adult height is between 1/3 inches and 2/5 inches. 

The coloration of woodlouse spiders is divided into three main parts. Its head and chest are dark red, but its thin abdomen is yellowish-brown with apparent luster. From this body, there are eight red-orange legs. 

Since this spider mainly feeds on isopods Woodlouse, it has developed a very effective killing method. In addition, the spider limbs are disproportionate in size, which makes them look very threatening. 

Woodlouse Spider Range

In North America, Woodlouse spiders are mainly distributed on the east coast, from New England in the north to Georgia in the south. Usually, it lives east of the Mississippi River. Although rarely found in the Deep South, Midwest, or Southwest, it thrives on the West Coast and lives in California, Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia. It also appears on the border between California and Mexico.

Woodlouse Spider Habits

Although this spider is native to the Mediterranean region, it has spread to other areas. This includes North and South America, Eurasia, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. In all these areas, the general habitat of the Woodlouse spider remains relatively homogeneous. These spiders can be found in many places, but they almost always appear near the source of woodlice. 

The most common place to see this spider is under rocks, bricks, logs, plant patches, and even under piles of dry leaves—basically, any warm, sheltered place near their food. 

During the day, these spiders form a silky fence, adding more structure and safety to the place where they live. However, the night is when they leave the wall and start hunting. 

Since they are hunter spiders, they do not form webs to catch food. Although they are usually found outdoors, they can sometimes enter homes if the weather outside becomes too extreme.

Are woodlouse spiders poisonous?

To humans, woodlouse spiders pose almost no threat. Although its fangs are enormous, its venom is harmless to most (if not all) people who are bitten. Usually, the bite caused at most is a few hours of mild pain caused by the bite itself. 

However, for other animals, woodlouse spiders pose a more significant threat. Its large chelicerae and wide opening make it easy to control almost any invertebrate, similar to woodlouse. It has even been shown to have a strong advantage against other spiders and centipedes that may pose a threat. 

Therefore, if you encounter one of these spiders, don't panic. Woodlouse spiders are almost harmless to humans. 

However, they are very powerful and robust spiders against prey and any competition.

Although the venom of the woodlouse spider usually does not cause serious harm to humans, the bite victim may have an allergic reaction due to the injury. People with weakened immune systems or other health problems may also have a severe reaction to this spider bite. The Mayo Clinic recommends that if the spider bite is excruciating or the victim has abdominal cramps, see a doctor. Another reason to see a doctor is that the ulcers at the bite site are getting bigger.

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