Nine species of the genus Dysdera were found to occur in central Europe: D. adriatica Kulczyński 1897, D. crocata Koch 1838, D. dubrovninnii Deeleman-Reinhold 1988, D. erythrina (Walckenaer 1802), D. ninnii Canestrini 1868, D. hungarica Kulczyński 1897, D. lantosquensis Simon 1882, D. longirostris Doblika 1853, and D. taurica Charitonov 1956. Two species, D. dubrovninnii and D. lantosquensis, are newly recorded from central Europe. The original description of D. hombergi (Scopoli 1763), the name used for a common species of the genus Harpactea, probably refers to D. ninnii. We retain the name D. ninnii as a nomen protectum. Dysdera hamulata Kulczyński 1897 appears to be a junior synonym of D. maurusia Thorell 1873. This North African species probably does not occur in central Europe, and a previous record from Slovakia is probably based on mislabeled material. A review of all species of Dysdera named from outside the Palearctic region demonstrated that D. australiensis Rainbow 1900 and D. magna Keyserling 1877 are junior synonyms of D. crocata, and that D. bicolor Tatzanovski 1874 and D. solers Walckenaer 1837 are erroneously placed in the genus Dysdera; the former is likely to be an oonopid and the latter a caponiid. In central Europe, Dysdera spiders prefer xerothermic forests, particularly sites enriched by calcium. All species probably have biennal life-cycles. The karyotype of males of seven species were examined, and diploid chromosome numbers were found to be extraordinarily variable, ranging from 9 (D. crocata) to 40 (D. longirostris). Karyotypes consist of holocentric chromosomes.