Slater-eating Spider

03 October, 2010

<I>Dysdera crocata</I>: Slater-eating Spider
Dysdera crocata: Slater-eating Spider
Image: Graham Milledge
Source: Museum Victoria

Question: What is this reddish spider with the large fangs and is it dangerous?

 Answer: The spider is what is commonly known as the Slater-eating spider, Dysdera crocata. It is believed to have been introduced from Europe and as far as we know only occurs in the south-eastern part of the continent. The spider uses its elongated fangs to catch slaters and is relatively common in urban areas where it can be found in damp habitats (such as under rocks and logs) where it is likely to find its prey. Apparently the spider has a strong aversion to ants; and while its fangs are impressive in size a bite from this spider is not considered dangerous but will probably cause itchy local reactions.

Comments (2)

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meier bram (6) 10 December, 2010 19:41
hello I have seen one of these today in my school ground! And I also found lots before then. I've seen their fangs! And, I like them. Why do they have orange on them? And why do they have such a different coloured abdomen? How can they bite through the slater's tough shell?
Discovery Centre 17 December, 2010 12:00

Hello Meier, We are pleased to hear you observe spiders and are interested in them. Many bugs use red and orange body patterns to scare away something that might eat them. This is because lots or red or orange bugs are poisonous or taste really bad to predators. Many spider fangs are very sharp and some can even bite into fingernails and soft shoes, so a slater is shell is not tough for them!

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