Types of Crab Spiders: A Friendly Guide to Identification

Crab spiders are fascinating creatures that belong to the Thomisidae family. These spiders are known for their unique appearance and hunting tactics. With legs that extend outward from their sides, they can walk in any direction, just like a crab.

You might come across a variety of crab spiders in your garden or nearby nature. These arachnids often live in flowers and use their camouflage skills to blend in while they patiently wait for their prey. When an unsuspecting insect comes close, the crab spider quickly snatches it with its strong front legs.

By exploring the world of crab spiders, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for these intriguing members of the spider world. Keep an eye out for these little critters next time you’re outdoors, and remember that they play an essential role in maintaining balance in the ecosystem.

Physical Characteristics

When observing crab spiders, you’ll notice their unique legs and eight eyes. Their legs extend outward from their sides, which allows them to walk in any direction, much like crabs. Additionally, these spiders have eight eyes that assist them in hunting prey.

As for their size and color, crab spiders tend to be small, with various shades of whitish-yellow, yellowish-brown, or sometimes greenish hues. Their abdomen often displays spots or lines as part of their distinct patterns. For example, the Whitebanded Crab Spider is small and whitish-yellow, with a slightly greenish carapace and a broad whitish-yellow midband bordered by darker, thinner sides of yellowish color.

Here is a comparison of some crab spider features:

Feature Description
Legs Extend outward from sides; crab-like movement
Eyes Eight in number; assist in hunting
Size Small
Color Whitish-yellow, yellowish-brown, or greenish
Abdomen May have spots or lines as part of patterns

Remember, these physical characteristics may vary between different species of crab spiders. Keep an eye out for their legs, eyes, size, color, and abdomen patterns to help you identify them in their natural habitats.

Types of Crab Spiders

Flower Crab Spiders

Flower crab spiders, such as the Misumena vatia species, are common in North America. These spiders camouflage themselves in flowers to ambush their prey. Due to their color-changing abilities, you can often find them among white, yellow, and pink flowers.

Some interesting features of flower crab spiders include:

  • Camouflage abilities
  • Active hunters without webs
  • Ambush prey in flowers

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod crab spiders, scientifically known as Misumena vatia, are also found in North America. They have a yellow body with white stripes, allowing them to blend in with goldenrod flowers and ambush their prey.

  • Bright yellow color
  • Good at blending in flowers
  • Capture prey in goldenrod flowers

Misumenoides Formosipes

Misumenoides formosipes, another species of crab spider, are commonly found near flowers. They are visually similar to goldenrod crab spiders, but with unique white markings on their abdomen.

Distinct characteristics of Misumenoides formosipes include:

  • White markings on abdomen
  • Resemble goldenrod crab spiders
  • Generally found near flowers

Thomisus Onustus

Thomisus onustus, a European species, are skilled at camouflaging themselves among flowers as well. They are known for their large size and appetite for bee prey.

Some notable features of Thomisus onustus are:

  • Large size
  • European origin
  • Bee predators

Giant Crab Spiders

Giant crab spiders, as the name suggests, are large spiders with long legs. Although they don’t belong to the flower crab spider family, they still possess similar physical characteristics and hunting techniques.

Key characteristics of giant crab spiders include:

  • Long legs
  • Large size
  • Active hunters without webs
Species Region Color Appearance
Flower Crab Spiders North America Varies Flowers
Goldenrod Crab Spider North America Yellow & white Goldenrod flowers
Misumenoides Formosipes North America Yellow & white Flowers
Thomisus Onustus Europe Varies Flowers
Giant Crab Spiders Worldwide Varies Various habitats

Behavior and Habits

Crab spiders, including the Whitebanded Crab Spider, are known for their unique hunting approach. They use ambush tactics, instead of building webs to catch prey.

They often live in flowers, where they change color to blend in with their surroundings. For example, the flower spider can change its color from white to yellow in about 10 days to match the flower it’s in.

During the day, you’ll find these spiders patiently waiting for their prey. They are non-aggressive and quite timid. If a potential meal gets close enough, they’ll quickly grab and bite their prey.

Some interesting points about crab spiders include:

  • They can walk in any direction, like a crab
  • Their venom is believed to be more potent than most spiders
  • They aren’t known to bite humans

In comparison to other spiders that build intricate webs, crab spiders employ a more tactical and stealthy approach for hunting. Their ability to change color and blend in with their environment gives them an advantage when waiting for the perfect moment to catch their prey.

So next time you see a crab spider in your garden, remember that they are helping you by eliminating insect pests, and appreciate their fascinating behavior and habits.

Habitat and Distribution

North America

In North America, you can find various species of crab spiders, including the Goldenrod Crab Spider. These spiders typically inhabit:

  • Gardens
  • Meadows
  • Grasslands

They often live on flowers, where they camouflage and wait for prey.

Europe

In Europe, one common crab spider species is the Thomisus onustus. Their preferred habitats include:

  • Shrubs
  • Grasslands
  • Forest edges

These spiders are also known for their ability to change color for better camouflage.

Asia

Moving on to Asia, the Bassaniana crab spider species can be found in various habitats, such as:

  • Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Gardens

These spiders exhibit excellent hunting skills and can often be spotted on plants or flowers waiting for prey.

Comparison Table

Continent Crab Spider Species Preferred Habitat
North America Goldenrod Crab Spider Gardens, Meadows, Grasslands
Europe Thomisus onustus Shrubs, Grasslands, Forest edges
Asia Bassaniana Forests, Grasslands, Gardens

In summary, crab spiders are widely distributed across North America, Europe, and Asia, with unique species adapted to various habitats. Their exceptional camouflage and hunting abilities make them fascinating creatures to observe in their natural environments.

Diet of Crab Spiders

Crab spiders are not your everyday web-builders; they prefer a more proactive approach to hunting their prey. They patiently wait, often in flowers or foliage, ready to ambush unsuspecting insects. As a crab spider enthusiast, you might be curious about their dietary habits.

Some of their favorite prey include:

  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Wasps
  • Moths

Their diet isn’t picky, as they catch various insects on the go. While hiding in flowers, for instance, crab spiders prey on bees that come to collect nectar. They use their powerful front legs to snatch their victims, swiftly subduing them with potent venom.

Here’s a quick comparison of their prey:

Insect Prey Size Agility Defense
Bee Small Moderate Stinger
Butterfly Medium High Bright Colors
Wasp Small High Stinger
Moth Varies Moderate Camouflage

Crab spiders have a couple key attributes that help them be effective hunters in their environment. They’re:

  • Patient
  • Skillful ambush predators
  • Able to blend in with their surroundings

So, next time you spot a colorful flower, take a closer look. You might just find a crab spider lurking inside, waiting for its next meal.

Reproduction

When it comes to crab spiders, the reproduction process is quite fascinating. Female and male crab spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism, which means they display significant differences in size and appearance. For example, adult females of the Goldenrod Crab Spider species have a body length of about 3/8 inch and can have large abdomens when gravid.

Males, on the other hand, are often smaller in size. This size difference plays a role during mating, as smaller males have a better chance of successfully approaching and mating with females. Pheromones also play a vital role in crab spider reproduction. These chemical signals are produced by females to attract the males for mating.

In order to attract their mates, female crab spiders will usually release pheromones, which are detected by the receptive males. Once a male finds a suitable female, he will likely approach her and initiate mating.

To provide a better understanding of crab spider reproduction, consider the following characteristics as observed in many crab spider species:

  • Sexual dimorphism in size and appearance
  • Pheromones for mate attraction
  • Smaller male size for successful mating

It’s worth noting that the reproductive process may vary among different crab spider species. So, always consider these factors as a general overview rather than a definitive guide to crab spider reproduction. Overall, learning about the unique aspects of crab spider reproduction can help you appreciate these fascinating creatures even more.

Interaction with Humans

Crab spiders are generally harmless to humans. They’re not considered dangerous nor aggressive. Here’s what you can expect when interacting with them:

Bite: In rare instances, crab spiders may accidentally bite if they feel threatened or trapped. However, their bites are usually not dangerous to humans and don’t cause severe reactions.

Most of the time, you can observe these fascinating creatures without worry. Just keep in mind that direct contact is best avoided to protect both yourself and the spider. Enjoy watching them in their natural environment and appreciate the benefits they bring to your surroundings:

  • Pest control: These spiders help control insect populations in your garden and other outdoor spaces.
  • Pollination: While they hunt on flowers, crab spiders may contribute to pollination as they move from plant to plant.

So next time you see a crab spider, remember that they’re generally harmless and an interesting part of our ecosystem.

Crab Spiders In The Garden

Crab spiders can be an important part of your garden ecosystem. These small, uniquely-shaped arachnids often reside in flowers, plants, and grasslands. They’re known for their crab-like appearance and ability to walk in any direction 1.

In your garden, crab spiders can be quite beneficial. They capture and consume various insect pests, helping to protect your plants and flowers 2. For example, consider the following:

  • Whitebanded crab spider: This small spider is whitish-yellow or yellowish-brown and often has a greenish carapace 3.
  • Northern crab spider: It has many color combinations and features spiny hairs on its surface, making it difficult to identify 4.

Crab spiders don’t build webs; they patiently wait for their prey to come close and then capture them 5. Their venom is potent enough to subdue insects like bees, but they’re not known to bite humans 6.

Here are some key characteristics of crab spiders in the garden:

  • Location: They typically inhabit flowers, plants, and grasslands.
  • Prey: Crab spiders feed on insects like bees and other garden pests.
  • Size: These spiders are small in size, making them discreet in gardens.
  • Benefits: They help control pest populations in gardens and grasslands.

So, next time you’re enjoying your lush, green garden, keep an eye out for these helpful arachnids and appreciate the natural pest control service they provide.

Footnotes

  1. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/whitebanded-crab-spider

  2. https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/habitat/waspiders.aspx

  3. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/whitebanded-crab-spider

  4. https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/northern-crab-spider

  5. https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/commonspiders.pdf

  6. https://dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/Pages/habitat/waspiders.aspx

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Arizona Spider
Location: Prescott, AZ
November 25, 2010 10:03 am
My son in Prescott AZ saw this spider wandering around the kitchen. Two days later it was in the bathroom. He took this photo before putting it outside. There are so many variations of spiders we have not been able to ID it, but think it is perhaps a Wolf spider or a baby Tarantula.
The weather is starting to get cold in Prescott, so the spider was probably looking for a warmer area.
Signature: Jim W

Giant Crab Spider

Hi Jim,
Your spider is a perfect visual match to an image we located on BugGuide that is identified as a Giant Crab Spider in the genus
Olios that is also from Arizona, but it is not identified to the species level.  The following remark was recently posted to the genus page on BugGuide:  “Olios  The genus Olios is in need of a major revision. Most of the described western species were written up over 75 years ago and there has never been a comprehensive review of the genus. Additionally,there are apparently numerous undescribed species in various collections. So, for now, the safest thing is to leave it Olios sp.  … R.J. Adams, 17 October, 2010 – 12:48pm.”  Giant Crab Spiders are also known as Huntsman Spiders.  They are hunting spiders that do not spin a web for snaring prey, and they also hunt by night.

Dan,
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
It is really considerate of you to spare some time to satisfy the curiosity of random strangers.
Jimmy said the spider was very handsome, and aggressive, too. When Jimmy moved the spider outside it stood up on it’s back legs and threatened him by waving the front legs at him.
Spunky little guy. Hopefully he will be OK outside.
Jim

Letter 2 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Large Unknown Spider
June 28, 2010
Hi- I noted this spider inside one of the cells of my honeycomb window shades. I encouraged it to come out, whereupon it quickly made its way to the ceiling. It’s legspan is at least 2 inches and its body is about 1/2 inch log. I did capture it but want to know what it is before I release it. Thank you very much.
Alison
San Francisco, California

Giant Crab Spider

Hi Alison,
This is a Giant Crab Spider in the genus Olios, so called because of their crablike sideways movements and large size, and they are sometimes called Huntsman Spiders because they do not build webs for snaring, but rather, they hunt for prey.
Often when we get a letter claiming to have seen a really big spider, we chuckle when we see the photos of a small house spider, but your Giant Crab Spider can truly be called a large spider.

Letter 3 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Tarantula or spider??
Location: Yucca Valley, CA
June 1, 2011 12:53 am
Hi, I live in Yucca Valley, CA, in the desert. I see these guys all the time around my house. They are never in webs, so I assume that they are either hunting for food or a mate. They are typically up high, sometimes in cupboards, once in the chimney, I even had one run across my dashboard while driving! I’m extremely afraid of them.
I used to keep several pet tarantulas when I was younger, and I think that knowing what I’m dealing with would ease my fears a bit.
The pics aren’t great, and this wasn’t the largest one I’ve encountered, but hopefully it’s good enough. Thanks!
Signature: Andrea

Giant Crab Spider

Hi Andrea,
This is a Giant Crab Spider in the genus
Olios.  You are correct in that they are hunting spiders and they do not build a web to ensnare prey.  They are generally shy, nocturnal hunters and they are considered harmless to humans.

Daniel,
Thank you so much for the reply. I feel a little more comfortable now taking them outside (or asking my boyfriend to move them for me). I felt bad killing them.
Andrea

Andrea,
Killing them would definitely be unnecessary carnage.  We had hoped this magnificent Giant Crab Spider posed agreeably for that series of photos on a quarter, but we have come to fear that this spider might be a corpse.  We believe this Giant Crab Spider is
Olios giganteus, based on this photo on BugGuide.  The description on BugGuide “dark chelicerae, prominent heart mark” fits your individual.

That looks like the one. He was dead, but now I will avoid killing them. Someone told me they were really aggressive, so I haven’t given them a chance.

Hi again Andrea,
We are happy to hear that.

Letter 4 – Flower Spider on Fruit

 

Crab Spider?
Hi. I have sure enjoyed your site. I would like this spider identified please. I found it on an immature strawberry North of Seattle, WA. She seems to be missing her top left leg (you can just barely see the stub). After she arrived, my strawberries no longer had pesky tiny tiny bugs on them. Thanks,
Betsy

Hi Betsy,
You are absolutely correct. Your Crab Spider is also known as a Flower Spider and it is great she is keeping your fruit pest free.

Letter 5 – Flower Spider devours Honey Bee

 

Pretty/Dangerous
Hi Bugman. I love your site, and was happy to see some pictures from Canada. Here are a couple I got while taking pictures of wild flowers. I know the one is a goldenrod crab, but what is the other one?
Thanks,
Brad Buhr

Hi Brad,
One of the Crab Spiders, Mitsumena vatia, the Goldenrod Spider, is also called a Flower Spider. They are able to change colors to match surroundings. Your example shows what happens when a hapless Honey Bee tries visiting a flower with a concealed Flower Spider. We don’t recognize your other spider.

Letter 6 – Flower Spider with Fly

 

Crab Spider?
I think this is a crab spider as listed on your site. Caught this guy having lunch 🙂 We live in Eastern Ontario, and this is the first time I’ve seen one so white. He seemed to enjoy the morning glory’s as he was around for a better part of the summer. Feel free to share the photo.
Cheers –
Dageon

Hi Dageon,
You are correct that this is a Crab Spider, but they are also known as Flower Spiders, a very relavent name in the case of your specimen. Great foodchain image.

Letter 7 – Flower Spider captures Fly

 

White Crab Spider
Hope you like this Crab spider, this was the closest i could get without spooking him/her. Location – Midlands: UK
Kevin

Hi Kevin,
Stateside, Crab Spiders are sometimes called Flower Spiders since they wait in flowers for pollinating insects to arrive just in time for lunch.

Letter 8 – Flower Spider eats Pine White

 

PINK PAINTED WHITE SPIDER
HELLO, WHAT A GREAT SITE ! ! I WILL BE VIEWING IT ON A REGULAR BASES. I LIVE IN SO. OREGON. JUST 88 MILES FROM THE CA. BORDER, I HAVE JUST FOUND OUT THAT I LOVE TO TAKE PHOTO’S OF BUGS AND FLOWERS. I HAVE JUST STARTED TO LEARN DIGITAL CAMERA’S A YEAR AND A-HALF AGO, I HAVE MANY GREAT PHOTO’S !! BUT THE BUG ONE’S HAS GIVING ME THE BUG TO GET OUT AND FIND MORE TO SHOOT. HERE ARE THE LATEST JULY 28-07. THE SPIDER AND THE FLY FELL OUT OF A FLOWER, I MOVED IT AND THEY BECAME SEPERATED HERE IS THAT SAME SPIDER WHAT KIND IS IT? THE FLY SEEMED DEAD! ! ! THE VERY NEXT DAY, I SPOTTED THIS ALL WHITE SPIDER THIS BUTTERFLY SEEMS DEAD ALSO HERE IS ANOTHER VIEW. THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME FOR ME,
LAURIE HAYDEN-QUINN

Hi Laurie,
Your spider is Misumena vatia, also known as a Crab Spider or Flower Spider. The butterfly is a Pine White, Neophasia menapia.

Letter 9 – Flower Spider

 

Spider ID
Can you tell me what kind of spider this is? I’m thinking a crab spider of maybe the yellow variety. I saw it in VA.
Greg

Hi Greg,
Crab Spiders are also known as Flower Spiders because of their behavior. Their colors can change to match their surroundings, and your photo is an excellent example, and they usually wait on blossoms for unwary pollinating insects to fly within their grasp.

Letter 10 – Flower Spider

 

spider with a screaming man’s face
I shot these photos just off the Natchez Trace Parkway in southern Tennessee. The flower that these creatures were on was only about one inch in diameter. I’ve looked for information about this spider everywhere I can think of, but to no avail. I was intrigued with the screaming man’s face on the spider’s abdomen and if it really had the audacity to take on the ant that it seemed to be stalking. Can you possibly help in idintifying this very interesting animal.
RONNIE B

Hi Ronnie,
We quickly matched your spider to an image on BugGuide of a Flower Spider in the genus Misumenops. These spiders in the family Thomisidae. They do not build webs. The Flower Spiders are quite interesting in that they wait on flowers for pollinating insects. are Crab Spiders in the family

Letter 11 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Sadly, we accidentally deleted the original letter from J. Gavin at the Flamingo Condominiums in some Spanish speaking country that accompanied this image of a Giant Crab Spider. J found this spider in the lobby. We are not sure of the exact species, but we do know that Giant Crab Spiders do not spin webs and are often welcome in tropical homes because they eat roaches.

Letter 12 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Weird Spider of Aruba DWI
Hi,
While working at the Met equipments at the Airport we found a weird spider. Its a bit bigger than a black widow, and its body is more built than a black widow. We found black widows (common in Aruba) too hidden in dark areas, but this one had its nest (not a like a regular spider web) sitting on an instrument metal box cover, with barely any shade. Therefore I assume that the spider does not seem to care much about sunlight. The meteorological equipments are at the runway of the airport. If anybody recognizes this spider, I will appreciate it. We need to add a couple of stuffs again to the Met site, so I’ll see if its still there and get a better pic.
ps. Aruba is hot and humid year round and the airport is near the sea.
cheers
marck

Hi Marck,
It is difficult to tell exactly, but your photo resembles a female Giant Crab Spider, Family Sparassidae, which included the Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. They are mostly tropical spiders that do not make webs. Females care for the egg sac which is, I believe, what you have seen. They hide by day and hunt by night.

Letter 13 – Flower Spider

 

Crab Spider??
My wife who dearly dislikes spiders found this on one of her potted flower plants. She was so taken with the odd shape and color that she took it under her care, seeing to its needs as well as she could. She made sure the plant was well cared for so that it would attract food; that it was protected from too much sun and that the adjacent white flowers were sprinkled with a light mist of water if that moisture might be needed by the spider. I include all this because this nurturing was so out of character I found it quite amusing. I took the picture at her insistence because she wanted to record her discovery. Sorry about the lack of clear focus but my camera does not do macro. The color is pretty close although I had to jack-up the contrast to bring it out. In about a weeks time it had curled up a leaf with its web and made a tidy cocoon for itself. We have a lot of flying insects around the flowers and it never really moved around much from its spot and we don’t know how well it fared in its quest for food. We NOT spider or even bug aficionados but are guessing at crab spider because the front pair of legs are quite long compared with the back pair of legs and they are usually poised separately in a front/back configuration. It’s obvious that you have scads of photos but maybe not this one?
Thank you,
Ken and Gerry

Hi Ken and Gerry,
Thank you for the sweet letter. This is a Crab Spider, also known as a Flower Spider since it waits on flowers for prey. The scientific name is Misumena vatia and this lovely color variation is one of several, but perhaps the most distinct, that is characteristic of this species.

Letter 14 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Colorado Spider
Hello,
I found your website via a Google search. I recently moved in to a townhome in Loveland, Colorado. There’s a retention pond within about 30 feet from my front door and an undeveloped open space to the east of my home. I found this spider crawling on my textured sheet-rocked walls. I snapped this picture before I relocated him to the great outdoors. Any idea what it is? I looked through all 6 spider pages on your web site and never really found a perfect match. Almost looks like a fishing spider… Thanks for a great site!
Rod Woodard

Hi Rod,
This is some type of Giant Crab Spider. Here is the input we got from Eric Eaton: ” Don’t think the sprawling crab spider is a Selenopidae. From what I understand they are essentially walking pancakes, and this specimen looks like it has more depth to it:-) Plus, I read somewhere that philodromid crab spiders have the second pair of legs longer than the first pair, which seems to fit here. Philodromids rarely exceed ten millimeters in BODY length, though, so if it was larger than that, it could well be some other family. The experts really split up a number of the old spider families and I’m not caught up yet!”

Letter 15 – Flower Spiders: Yellow and White

 

5 mins. apart – yellow & white flower spiders
Dear Bugman,
Outside during my daily garden rounds today, I came across two nearly identical – except in color – spiders, resting on some flowers. The yellow one is on a tropical hibiscus flower, and the white one is on an Ellen’s Blue Buddleia. I have been using your web site for the nearly 2 1/2 years I’ve been living and gardening in Illinois. It is tremendous and has helped me identify dozens of critters I never previously knew existed. The downside is that I can rarely escape your site before several hours have elapsed.
I am guessing that my two spiders are crab or flower or goldenrod spiders, aka Misumena vatia? Thanks for such a great web site.
Dori Eldridge
Naperville, IL

Hi Dori,
Thank you for your two photos of a Crab Spider, AKA Flower Spider, AKA Goldenrod Spider, Misumena vatia. The depiction of two distint color forms in the same species is exemplary of the camoflauge capability this species possesses.

Letter 16 – Flower Spider feeds on pollinating Bee

 

”Come into my parlor,” said the spider to the fly.
Location: Coryell County, Central Texas
May 8, 2011 12:27 pm
Hello again. Last year, you kindly identified some photos as a crab spider, or flower spider. I found this spider on another rose and was wondering if it also is a crab spider. It drained the fly, left its carcass and then hid behind another petal, legs ready to grab another fly. It’s a jungle out there.
Curious, I looked at a second rose and found a similar, smaller spider. I wonder if each of our roses has a spider 🙂
Noticed brown spots on the roses, aphids, probably. Need a ladybug intervention soon.
Signature: Ellen

Crab Spider eats Bee

Hi Ellen,
This is indeed a Crab Spider, most likely the Goldenrod Crab Spider or Flower Spider,
Misumena vatia.  The images you sent us last year appear to be a different species. We believe the prey in your first photo is a Bee, not a Fly.  Flower Spiders get their common name from their habit of waiting for prey on blossoms, hence many of their victims are beneficial pollinating insects like this Bee.

Crab Spider

Letter 17 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Arachnid Identification
Location: Lat: 33.46071 Long: -117.62400
March 17, 2012 4:02 pm
Date: March 17, 2012
Location: San Clemente, CA, 92673
Region: Coastal Chaparral/Mediterranean
Time: 8:30 A.M.
Temp: 60-46 degrees F
Hey there, well done and useful website. Saw this big guy/gal in the A.M. about 6ft. up a wall in my dimly lit hallway, after a night and morning of rainfall. Caught it in a glass cup using a paper towel and a band to seal it up. He’s one of the largest non-widow or non-tarantula I’ve ever seen around here, and I know he isn’t dangerous in the least, yet I still don’t know exactly what species it is…
Using the camera and ruler on my phone, I took pictures and measurements of the spider. Some measurements had to be made through the glass, so the exact specifications of this individual may be in slight error…
BEHAVIOR: It seemed quite comfortable with its front sets of legs in the forward-swept and curved position when resting. Which it did a lot of, even when approached within a few inches. Any closer than about 2-3 inches would yield a quick yet minor response of a few paces away from whichever direction the annoyance was coming. Very docile and mild mannered spider when left to be observed and not touched. I sadly noticed it was missing a leg. I hope it was not from my encounter, I try to be careful, but the spider didn’t seem terrible hindered by the loss anyway. After about 20 min of obsessing over it, I released it into my garage where it will do some good and not get murdered by my family of bug-hating baboons….
COLOR: Tan to yellowish/brown hue throughout body, dark rings on joints of legs, black pattern of stacked diamonds on abdomen
Total Leg Diameter: 1.57 in
Total Abd./Thrx. Length: .3 in
Abd. Length: .13 in
Abd. Width: .11
Thanks again for reading and for the awesome site. Keep it up guys!!
Fellow bug lover,
Signature: Bryan Sheaks

Giant Crab Spider

Hi Bryan,
Thanks for the compliments.  This is one of the Giant Crab Spiders in the family Sparassidae, and we are relatively certain it is in the genus
Olios.  According to BugGuide, the genus is found in the southwestern portion of the United States, though BugGuide only covers species in North America north of Mexico.

Giant Crab Spider

 

Letter 18 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Subject: What kind of spider is this?
Location: Tucson, AZ
October 18, 2012 7:42 pm
I came upon this spider in the showers in Picacho Peak campground (Tucson, AZ) last week? It was about the size of my palm. I took the picture and then backed away…
Any ideas on what kind it is?
Signature: Curious

Giant Crab Spider

Dear Curious,
This is a Giant Crab Spider in the genus
Olios, and you can compare your image to this photo on BugGuide.  The size of the pedipalps, the first pair of appendages, are an indication that this is a male.  Male spiders use their pedipalps to transfer sperm packets to the female during mating.

 

 

 

Letter 19 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Subject: Spider ID
Location: Clovis, Ca,
January 21, 2013 11:22 pm
I saw this spider while working on the RV. I found it in a semi open metal shed.Clovis, Ca. in Jan.
Signature: sCary

Giant Crab Spider

Dear sCary,
This is a Giant Crab Spider or Huntsman Spider,
Olios giganteus.  You can read more about them on BugGuide.

Thank you very much for the the ID. I looked at 36 pages of spiders. I needed your help for the ID.
Cary

Letter 20 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Subject: My spidey senses…are failing me.
Location: Western Prescott Arizona
September 21, 2013 10:01 pm
I was out at my dads house in Prescott Arizona and came across this guy hanging out right under the eve of the garage door. I thought he was a tarantula but I’m starting to think its a golden huntsman… I had been on the search for a tarantula my whole trip out there so I got a little excited and took him home with me to San Diego as a pet.
He’s about 3 inches across leg to leg, has sizable shiny black mandibles.
Signature: Bug crazy

Giant Crab Spider
Giant Crab Spider

Dear Bug crazy,
In our opinion, this is a Giant Crab Spider in the genus Olios, but we are not certain of the species.  Giant Crab Spiders are sometimes called Huntsman Spiders.  See BugGuide for additional information on Giant Crab Spiders.

Letter 21 – Giant Crab Spider

 

Subject: PLEASE help ID this spider
Location: Morongo VALLEY, CA
March 6, 2016 3:21 pm
Help ID this spider. I live in morongo VALLEY CA., I just have the bottom side of the spider…thanks, Gil
Signature: Help

Giant Crab Spider
Giant Crab Spider

This is a Giant Crab Spider or Huntsman Spider in the genus Olios.  It is not considered dangerous to humans.

Thanks, wife very frighten of this spider, now she’s NOT… Thanks, again, do you service houses in the Morongo Valley area? Have ant problem..thanks again, Gil and Leslie

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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