Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dysderids have six eyes. They are haplogyne , i.e. the females lack a sclerotized epigynum. There are a substantial number of genera, but two of them Dysdera and Harpactea account for a very large number of the species, and are widespread across the family's range. One species, Dysdera crocata (the woodlouse hunter), has been transported over much of the planet together with its preferred foods - sowbugs and pillbugs (or woodlice). Dysdera also feeds on beetles. These spiders have very large chelicerae, which they use to pierce the armored bodies of woodlice and beetles. There are also some reports that they have a mildly toxic venom that can cause local reactions in humans; with their huge fangs there is little doubt that they could bite if threatened, but the venom has not been well studied. It is probably wise not to handle these spiders.
The spiders have their six eyes arranged in a semicircle like segestrids , but have only the first two pairs of legs produced forward. Dysdera crocata has a characteristic coloring, which can only be confused with spiders in the corinnid genera Trachelas and Meriola: The carapace is dull red-brown and the abdomen gray or tan.
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