The deadly woodlouse spider is a poisonous predatory arachnid that belongs to the Desidae family. Also known as the slater spider, it is found in Australia and New Zealand. The spider gets its name from its preferred prey – woodlice or slaters. Although not aggressive towards humans, the bite of this venomous spider can be lethal to children, the elderly or those with a weakened immune system.
The deadly woodlouse spider has a small body that ranges from 1–1.5 cm in length. It is a dark brown spider with a distinct pattern of white spots on its abdomen. The legs of the spider are long and slender, which allows it to scuttle around with great speed.
The venom of the deadly woodlouse spider is highly toxic to its prey as well as humans. Although the spider is not aggressive towards humans and will only bite if threatened, its venom can cause swelling, redness, welts or lesions around the bite area. In severe cases, it can result in fever, headache, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and convulsions.
The deadly woodlouse spider prefers damp and humid environments and can be commonly found in gardens, under rocks, logs, around the root systems of plants, and in leaf litter. They are a nocturnal species, and it is at night that they search for their prey.
The deadly woodlouse spider’s favorite prey is woodlice or slaters. It uses its long and slender legs to chase down its prey and then bites it with its fangs. The venom of the spider immobilizes the prey, and it is then consumed by the spider.
Prevention and Treatment
The best way to prevent being bitten by the deadly woodlouse spider is to avoid handling it or any other spider species. It is also advised to shake out any clothing or shoes before wearing them to avoid any unpleasant surprises. In case of a bite, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Applying a cold compress to the bite area can provide some relief and minimize swelling.
In conclusion, the deadly woodlouse spider is an arachnid that should not be taken lightly. Although it is not aggressive towards humans, its venom can be lethal. As with any venomous species, precautionary measures should be taken to avoid contact with the spider, and immediate medical attention should be sought in case of a bite.