Roly Poly Killer
Colorado Insects of Interest
Class: Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order: Araneae (Spiders)
Identification and Descriptive Features: Dysdera crocata (Figure 1 and 2) is a spider of moderate-size, ranging 9-15 mm in length. The front half of the in spider (cephalothorax) and the appendages are orange or reddish orange. The abdomen is grayish white. Perhaps the most striking feature is the very large jaws and associated fangs (Figure 2).
Distribution in Colorado: An introduced species, Dysdera crocata can now likely found in residential areas statewide.
The spider is a nocturnal hunter and during the day is usually found under rocks, wood or other covering debris where isopods similarly occur. In homes, Dysdera crocata is almost always found in basements and other sites where humidity is high.
The spiders mature in about 18 months and, at least in captivity, may live an additional couple of years. Generations overlap and adults and immature forms can be found year round. Mating has been observed to occur in spring, and may happen at other times given the continuously overlapping generations of this species.
If handled their large fangs may be capable of inflicting a bite but they do not possess venom that poses any danger to humans. These are secretive spiders that are not aggressive and not harmful.
Related Species: Dysdera crocata is an introduced species of spider, native to Europe. It is the only representative of the family Dysderidae that occurs in Colorado.
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