Where Do Crab Spiders Live? Discover Their Intriguing Habitats

folder_openArachnida, Araneae
comment2 Comments

Crab spiders are fascinating creatures known for their unique hunting methods and crab-like appearance. Their front legs are often larger than the rest and are typically held out to the side, giving them a crab-like look. These spiders do not build webs, but rather rely on camouflage and patience to catch their prey.

You might be curious about where crab spiders live. In general, these arachnids are found in a wide variety of habitats. Some species are adapted to blend in with flowers or leaves, while others live near water and often catch small fish, aquatic insects, and even tadpoles. The Common Spiders of New York document reports that many crab spiders remain motionless and wait for unsuspecting prey to come within range before they strike.

No matter where you live, it’s possible to come across these intriguing spiders in your local environment. Keep an eye out for their distinct shape and intriguing behavior, which sets them apart from other spider species.

What are Crab Spiders

Crab spiders are a fascinating type of arachnid, belonging to the Thomisidae family of the Arthropod phylum. These unique spiders draw their name from their crab-like appearance and movement. To help you understand them better, let’s explore their key features:

  • Resemble crabs: Crab spiders have legs extending outward from the sides, allowing them to walk in any direction, similar to a crab.
  • Size and color: They are usually small in size and can be whitish yellow, yellowish brown, or even greenish-yellow, depending on the species.
  • Habitat: Most crab spiders live in flowers, where they wait to capture their prey.

There are several species of crab spiders within the Thomisidae family, which is part of the class Arachnida and the order Araneae. Some examples of crab spider species include the whitebanded crab spider and the northern crab spider. Each species may slightly differ in appearance and habitat preferences.

Crab spiders are not to be mistaken for other spider species, such as the common house spiders or cellar spiders, which belong to distinct spider families. To sum up, crab spiders are intriguing arachnids that are fascinating to study and observe, thanks to their unique appearance, behavior, and habitat preferences.

Physical Characteristics of Crab Spiders

Crab spiders have unique features that make them stand out among other spiders. Let’s explore some of their physical characteristics.

Their legs are a prominent feature, as they extend outward from their sides, allowing them to walk in any direction. This gives them a crab-like appearance. The front legs are often larger than the back legs and have spines that help with capturing prey.

The color of crab spiders can vary greatly, with some being white, green, brown, yellow, blue, black, gray, or even pink. These colors often allow them to blend in with their surroundings. For example, the whitebanded crab spider is small, whitish-yellow, or yellowish-brown, enabling it to camouflage in flowers.

Their size can also vary, but they are generally small spiders. As for their eyes, crab spiders typically have eight eyes like most spiders.

One of the unique features of crab spiders is their ability to change color. The Goldenrod Crab Spider, for example, can change its color by producing or excreting a yellow pigment, allowing it to blend in with its environment.

Crab spiders possess fangs they use for injecting venom into their prey. Additionally, they have hairs on their abdomen and legs, which can provide them with sensory information about their surroundings.

Sexual dimorphism is often present in crab spiders, with females being larger than males. So, when you encounter one, you can guess its gender based on its size.

In summary, crab spiders exhibit various physical characteristics that make them unique and efficient predators. Their versatile legs, camouflage abilities, and sensory features equip them to hunt effectively in their environment.

Crab Spider Subspecies

Misumena Vatia and Misumenops

The Misumena vatia, also known as the flower or goldenrod spider, is a common crab spider species that comes in white and yellow models with red racing stripes. They can change color from one to the other in about 10 days. Misumenops are another subspecies of crab spiders that are similar to Misumena and tend to live on flowers.

Misumenoides, Thomisus Onustus, and Thomisus Spectabilis

Misumenoides is another subspecies of crab spiders that shares a resemblance to the Misumena and Misumenops species. Thomisus onustus and Thomisus spectabilis are two separate subspecies that are both well-adapted to their environments, using their unique coloration and patterns to blend in with their surroundings and capture their prey.

Selenopidae and Bassaniana

The Selenopidae family, also known as wall spiders, includes crab spiders that are mostly found on walls or rock crevices. Bassaniana crab spiders, on the other hand, are usually found on plant stems and leaves.

Amyciaea, Thomisops, and Platythomisus

Amyciaea is a group of crab spiders known for their ability to mimic ants, thus allowing them to hunt their prey with ease. Thomisops spiders are often found on vegetation and display a flat appearance, while Platythomisus spiders boast a striking black and yellow pattern, making them easily distinguishable from other subspecies.

Comparison of Crab Spider Subspecies

Subspecies Appearance Habitat
Misumena Vatia White/Yellow, Red stripes Flowers
Misumenops Similar to Misumena Flowers
Misumenoides Similar to Misumena, Misumenops Diverse
Thomisus Onustus Highly camouflaged Diverse
Thomisus Spectabilis Highly camouflaged Diverse
Selenopidae Wall spiders Walls, Crevices
Bassaniana Varying colors Plant stems, Leaves
Amyciaea Ant-mimicking Diverse
Thomisops Flat appearance Vegetation
Platythomisus Black and yellow pattern Diverse

Remember that each subspecies has its own unique features to adapt to its specific habitat, making it a successful predator in the world of spiders.

Behavior and Alimentation of Crab Spiders

Crab spiders are fascinating creatures known for their unique hunting techniques. They usually live in flowers and blend in with their surroundings, waiting patiently for their prey. Their main diet consists of ants, insects, wasps, and honeybees.

Unlike other spiders, they do not build webs to catch their prey. Instead, they use their camouflage and strong front legs to ambush and capture their unsuspecting victims. Their bites inject venom into the prey, quickly paralyzing it to make it easier to consume.

Here are some key features of their behavior and alimentation:

  • Predominantly ambush hunters
  • Use camouflage to blend in with their surroundings
  • Inject venom through bites to paralyze prey

They are also known for their unique ability to change their color to match their environment, which further aids in their ambush hunting style. For instance, the Goldenrod Crab Spider can change its color between white and yellow to blend into different types of flowers.

So, when you’re out exploring the world of nature, keep an eye out for these small but mighty hunters.

Habitats of Crab Spiders

Crab spiders are versatile creatures, and their habitat varies depending on the species. In North America, you can find these intriguing arachnids in several environments such as flowers, plants, deserts, leaf litter, and on bark.

One of the most common habitats for crab spiders is flowers and plants. They have a fantastic ability to blend in with their surroundings, making them excellent ambush predators. When hiding in flowers, they patiently wait for their prey, like bees and butterflies, before grabbing and biting them.

Some crab spiders prefer living in the desert. These desert-dwelling species camouflage themselves in sand or among desert plants like cacti. They use their unique coloration and crab-like movement to remain hidden while awaiting their next meal.

In leaf litter and on bark, crab spiders also make themselves at home. They adopt various colors to blend in with the leaves and tree trunks, which provides them a stealthy advantage. This allows them to stalk their prey without being noticed, even in cluttered environments.

Here are some key features of crab spider habitats:

  • Found in North America
  • Commonly seen in flowers and plants
  • Also thrive in deserts, leaf litter, and on bark
  • Excellent camouflage in various environments

When observing crab spiders in your garden or out in nature, remember that their habitats may vary considerably. Appreciating their adaptability will lead to a greater understanding of these fascinating creatures and their role in the ecosystem.

Camouflage Techniques

Crab spiders excel at using camouflage to blend into their surroundings. Their cryptic coloration enables them to hide from predators and sneak up on prey.

These spiders adapt their appearance to match the environment. They can be gray, brown, tan, white, or yellow and may even change colors to better blend in with their surroundings.

Crab spiders often use their camouflage techniques near flowers or on plants, where they wait for unsuspecting insects to land. They don’t build webs but rely on their stealth to catch prey.

For example, some crab spiders have an uncanny ability to mimic:

  • Leaves
  • Bark
  • Flower petals

By mastering these camouflage techniques, crab spiders can live in various habitats, from forests to meadows. So, next time you’re in nature, take a closer look at the plants around you – you might just spot a well-hidden crab spider.

Potential Threats to Crab Spiders

Even though crab spiders are skilled ambush predators, they still face some threats in their environment. One of the main predators that can be a danger to crab spiders are mud daubers. These wasps are known to hunt spiders to feed their larvae.

Female mud daubers capture spiders and paralyze them with their venom. They then place the spiders in their nests, providing a food source for their offspring. This makes crab spiders vulnerable as prey in the insect world.

In addition to the threat posed by mud daubers, other predators like larger spiders, birds, and even some mammals can pose further risks to crab spiders. They also face challenges in their habitat, such as pesticide exposure, which can affect their numbers and overall health.

Interestingly, crab spiders possess relatively potent venom for their size, which allows them to quickly subdue prey, like bees ^4^. However, these spiders are not known to be dangerous to humans. Their venom is primarily used for capturing their insect prey.

To sum up, crab spiders, despite being venomous ambush predators, face a variety of threats from predators like mud daubers, larger spiders, birds, and mammals. Their habitat and exposure to pesticides can also influence their survival and well-being. Nevertheless, their potent venom helps them secure their prey and defend themselves in their environment.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Mating Process:
Crab spiders have an interesting reproduction process. Males are typically smaller than females and need to carefully approach their potential partners to avoid being perceived as prey. They use their long front legs to tap gently on the female’s body, signaling their intentions. If accepted, the male will then proceed to mate with the female.

Egg-Laying:
Female crab spiders are responsible for laying eggs. After mating, they find a safe, secluded location to construct their egg sac. Some examples of these locations include:

  • Flower stems
  • Leaves
  • Twigs

Once the optimal site is chosen, the female crab spider will lay her eggs and cover them with a thick, protective silk. This silk not only keeps predators away but also ensures optimal conditions for the spiderlings to develop.

Spiderlings and Growth:
Crab spiderlings emerge from their egg sac after a few weeks of development. Upon hatching, they are small and relatively defenseless. As they grow and molt, they become more mobile and better equipped to capture prey. Crab spiders go through several molts until they reach their full adult size.

Distribution:
Crab spiders can be found in various habitats around the world. They are well-adapted to their environment, which allows them to thrive in different areas such as:

  • Gardens
  • Meadows
  • Forests
  • Scrublands

In general, crab spiders are an essential part of the ecosystem as they help control insect populations, ultimately benefiting your plants and the environment.

Interaction With Human

Crab spiders are generally considered harmless to humans. They are known for their unique appearances and ability to hunt insects, becoming an essential part of our ecosystems.

Their bites are not typically dangerous for people, as they are not known to bite humans. Their mouthparts are better suited for feeding on small insects, making it difficult for them to pierce human skin.

Here are some attributes of crab spiders:

  • Harmless to humans
  • Not known to bite people
  • Beneficial to gardens due to their insect-hunting abilities
  • Possess potent venom to subdue their prey

For example, these species can be found in gardens and flower beds, often camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. They are useful to have in your backyard because they help to control the population of insect pests, resulting in a healthier environment for your plants.

To better visualize them, take a look at these pictures of common crab spiders. They may help you identify them more easily and observe their intricate patterns and shapes, which contribute to their incredible camouflage abilities.

In conclusion, crab spiders are an essential part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem due to their predation on insect pests. They are generally harmless to people and could even be considered beneficial in gardens and outdoor areas.

Unusual Facts About Crab Spiders

Crab spiders are fascinating creatures. For instance, they have an exceptional ability to walk sideways and backwards, just like crabs. These spiders are powerful when it comes to capturing their prey, thanks to their strong front legs. The Japanese spider crab is an evolutionary marvel with its giant size and long legs.

Some interesting facts about these crab-like creatures include:

  • Crab spiders don’t spin webs to capture their prey
  • They use camouflage techniques to blend in with their environment
  • Some species change color to match the background, which makes them almost invisible to their prey
  • They are generally found in flowers and trees waiting for their prey to get closer

Here is a brief comparison table illustrating some differences and similarities between spider crabs and crab spiders:

Feature Spider Crab Crab Spider
Habitat Ocean Flowers, trees
Size Large (up to 13 feet) Small
Legs Long and spindly Short and robust
Movement Sideways, backwards Sideways, backwards

As you can see, spider crabs and crab spiders have some characteristics in common, like their sideways and backward movement. They both evolved in unique ways to adapt to their respective environments.

So, if you happen to come across one of these intriguing creatures, remember their powerful legs, excellent camouflage skills, and their intriguing connection to the evolution of their crab-like movement.

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 – Crab Spider from the UK: Diaea dorsata

 

Subject:  Unidentified Green Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Surrey, UK
Date: 02/28/2019
Time: 06:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this spider in my house this evening.
It looks very different to other spiders that I’ve seen in the UK before and google can’t help me identify what it is.  Please can you have a look and see if you can identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks!

Crab Spider: Diaea dorsata

This is a Crab Spider and once we determined the family, it was easy to locate the identity of Diaea dorsata, which is pictured on FlickR and it is only identified to the family level on Sussex Rambler.

Letter 2 – Crab Spider from Australia: Sidymella rubrosignata

 

A tiny green Australian spider
February 19, 2010
Hi again,
I quite like this small ‘two-headed green frog spider’ I found inside our house. Would you be able to identify it?
Best,
Ridou
Ridou Ridou
Sydney Australia

Crab Spider

Hi again Ridou,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and there are several species pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  We are uncertain as to what species you have submitted, and part of our confusion arises from the variability of many species.  One North American species known as the Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, is known to be able to change its coloration based on the color of the flower or plant upon which it prowls for prey.  You can see some of these variations on BugGuide.  Crab Spiders are easily identified because the two pairs of front legs are considerably longer than the two pairs of hind legs.  We found many nice images of Crab Spiders on the Save Our Waterways website, and there is where we believe we matched your spider to Sidymella rubrosignata.  An image on Wikipedia supports that identification.

Letter 3 – Crab Spider Stalks Bumble Bee

 

crab spider
Where was this site when I found some crazy huge fuzzy spider!? I see the spider in my photo has been identified a couple of times already but I just wanted to share this photo (I’m just proud of it). I am actually terrified of spiders but still find them quite interesting. I like honey bees and I am wondering about the fate of the honey bee in the photo. They got into quite the scuffle and eventually the honey bee flew off – I am just wondering if he’d be alright after a a fight with one of these guys.
Thanks!

Hi Rebecca,
What’s That Bug? has been accepting correspondance from our curious readership online for over five years, and prior to that, for two years in print, though the modest photocopied American Homebody zine probably never crossed your path. Your Crab Spider is stalking a Bumble Bee, not a Honey Bee. Unless the spider sank its fangs into the bee, the Bumble Bee probably lived to pollinate numerous flowers after the near fatal encounter. Sadly, Crab Spiders do not know the difference between beneficial and harmful insects. Since Crab Spiders spend so much time on flowers, a large portion of their prey consists of beneficial pollinators.

Letter 4 – Crab Spider or Flower Spider

 

Spider id??
Howdy,
This spider is on a Scabiosa blossom in late summer to early fall in Eagle River, Alaska. The abdomen of the spider is about the size of a sesame seed. Thanks for any help you can give with the identification.
Best wishes,
Dennis Daigger

Hi Dennis,
This is one of the Crab Spiders also known as Flower Spiders for the obvious reason. They belong to the Family Thomisidae. Some species are able to change their coloration to match the flower they are living on.

Letter 5 – Crab Spider from Hawaii

 

Green Spider in Kauai
Location: Alakai Swamp (4000ft) Kauai, HI USA
March 2, 2012 6:06 pm
Found this spider in Kauai near Alakai swamp (4000ft) but can’t find this spider in the insects/spiders in north west america book i have.
body was about 2mm.
Signature: Toshiro Stang

Crab Spider

Dear Toshiro,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Tomisidae.  We are unable at this time to provide you with a species name.  Many species in the family exhibit great variability between individuals.  Your spider resembles this unidentified species we found on the Insects of Hawaii website.

Letter 6 – Crab Spider from India

 

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Subject: Spider info needed
Location: Satara, Maharashtra, India
October 13, 2014 12:48 am
Hi,
We got this spider clicked at Satara, Maharashtra, India. Not sure what species and name of this Spider.
Size of this spider is about 6 – 8 mm.
Need details of this Spider please.
Signature: Chetan

Dear Chetan,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and like your individual, many members of this family have camouflage coloration that allows them to hide in flowers where they ambush pollinating insects.  We will attempt to identify the species for you.

 

Letter 7 – Crab Spider from Ecuador

 

Subject: White crab spider in Ecuador
Location: Puerto Lopez, Manabi Province, Ecuador
November 27, 2014 7:26 pm
November 25, 2014, which was a clear day in the middle of several overcast days.
This seems to be a spider in the family Thomisidae but I am trying to determine which subfamily. It was on this clothes pin on our clothes line. When I took the pin off of the line, I noticed the spider and dropped it on the deck. That is where it stayed while I took the picture.
Do you know which subfamily it belongs to?
Signature: Emily in Ecuador

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Dear Emily,
To the best of our knowledge, subfamilies in the family Thomisidae are not recognized.  Your spider resembles members of the genus
Misumena that are known as Flower Spiders and in North America.  You can read more about the genus on BugGuide.

Letter 8 – Crab Spider from Haiti

 

Subject: green spider I.D?
Location: Haiti
August 13, 2016 9:29 pm
Hi, this green spider was seen at Thomassin (Haiti) in about 1000 m. of altitude.
I would love to know its name.
thx,
Signature: Philippe

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Dear Philippe,
We hope you are as amused as we are that this spider you found at Thomassin, Haiti is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, but alas, we have not had any luck determining the species.  Crab Spider can be identified because their front two pairs of legs are considerably longer than the remaining two pairs of legs.  Your image also nicely documents the eye arrangement pattern, which can be compared to the eye pattern of the family Thomisidae on BugGuide.

Dear Daniel,
I greatly appreciate your help. Based on the information you gave me I made a couple research on it and I tink its probably a Rejanellus pallescens.
Thank you so much,
Philippe

Letter 9 – Crab Spider from Kenya

 

Subject:  Small pink beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Nairobi kenya
Date: 11/03/2017
Time: 06:14 AM EDT
At first we thought this was a spider but only 6 legs are visible. It blends in well with our purple and pink flowers. Have you ever seen a pink beetle before? Thanks so much!
How you want your letter signed:  Denise

Crab Spider

Dear Denise,
This is not a beetle.  It is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae.  Crab Spiders do not build webs.  Crab Spiders are sometimes called Flower Spiders because they are frequently found on blossoms where they wait for prey.  Like the pink individual in your images, Crab Spiders are often brightly colored to blend in with the colors of the blossoms, effectively camouflaging them while they wait to ambush prey that visits the flowers.  We believe your individual is in the genus
Thomisus.  According to Biodiversity Explorer:  “Thomisus is able to undergo white to yellow or pink colour changes depending on the flower they are sitting on. This colour change facilitates camouflage on flower ambush sites and is completed within 2 days. While colour patterns are species specific, colours can vary. Not all species have this colour changing ability as some species occur on bark or among grass seeds and thus are a cryptic brown. The first and second pairs of legs are noticeably longer and thicker than the last 2 pairs and are used for prey capture. The abdomen is triangular in shape, being widest posteriorly. The lateral eyes are situated on tubercles.”  Your images are awesome.

Crab Spider

Thank you for your amazingly fast reply!
What an amazing spider!  We are so happy to know those interesting facts about the Crab Spider, especially that is has color changing capacities.  Incredible!
Thanks so much,
Denise

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 – Crab Spider from the UK: Diaea dorsata

 

Subject:  Unidentified Green Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Surrey, UK
Date: 02/28/2019
Time: 06:57 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this spider in my house this evening.
It looks very different to other spiders that I’ve seen in the UK before and google can’t help me identify what it is.  Please can you have a look and see if you can identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks!

Crab Spider: Diaea dorsata

This is a Crab Spider and once we determined the family, it was easy to locate the identity of Diaea dorsata, which is pictured on FlickR and it is only identified to the family level on Sussex Rambler.

Letter 2 – Crab Spider from Australia: Sidymella rubrosignata

 

A tiny green Australian spider
February 19, 2010
Hi again,
I quite like this small ‘two-headed green frog spider’ I found inside our house. Would you be able to identify it?
Best,
Ridou
Ridou Ridou
Sydney Australia

Crab Spider

Hi again Ridou,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and there are several species pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  We are uncertain as to what species you have submitted, and part of our confusion arises from the variability of many species.  One North American species known as the Goldenrod Crab Spider, Misumena vatia, is known to be able to change its coloration based on the color of the flower or plant upon which it prowls for prey.  You can see some of these variations on BugGuide.  Crab Spiders are easily identified because the two pairs of front legs are considerably longer than the two pairs of hind legs.  We found many nice images of Crab Spiders on the Save Our Waterways website, and there is where we believe we matched your spider to Sidymella rubrosignata.  An image on Wikipedia supports that identification.

Letter 3 – Crab Spider Stalks Bumble Bee

 

crab spider
Where was this site when I found some crazy huge fuzzy spider!? I see the spider in my photo has been identified a couple of times already but I just wanted to share this photo (I’m just proud of it). I am actually terrified of spiders but still find them quite interesting. I like honey bees and I am wondering about the fate of the honey bee in the photo. They got into quite the scuffle and eventually the honey bee flew off – I am just wondering if he’d be alright after a a fight with one of these guys.
Thanks!

Hi Rebecca,
What’s That Bug? has been accepting correspondance from our curious readership online for over five years, and prior to that, for two years in print, though the modest photocopied American Homebody zine probably never crossed your path. Your Crab Spider is stalking a Bumble Bee, not a Honey Bee. Unless the spider sank its fangs into the bee, the Bumble Bee probably lived to pollinate numerous flowers after the near fatal encounter. Sadly, Crab Spiders do not know the difference between beneficial and harmful insects. Since Crab Spiders spend so much time on flowers, a large portion of their prey consists of beneficial pollinators.

Letter 4 – Crab Spider or Flower Spider

 

Spider id??
Howdy,
This spider is on a Scabiosa blossom in late summer to early fall in Eagle River, Alaska. The abdomen of the spider is about the size of a sesame seed. Thanks for any help you can give with the identification.
Best wishes,
Dennis Daigger

Hi Dennis,
This is one of the Crab Spiders also known as Flower Spiders for the obvious reason. They belong to the Family Thomisidae. Some species are able to change their coloration to match the flower they are living on.

Letter 5 – Crab Spider from Hawaii

 

Green Spider in Kauai
Location: Alakai Swamp (4000ft) Kauai, HI USA
March 2, 2012 6:06 pm
Found this spider in Kauai near Alakai swamp (4000ft) but can’t find this spider in the insects/spiders in north west america book i have.
body was about 2mm.
Signature: Toshiro Stang

Crab Spider

Dear Toshiro,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Tomisidae.  We are unable at this time to provide you with a species name.  Many species in the family exhibit great variability between individuals.  Your spider resembles this unidentified species we found on the Insects of Hawaii website.

Letter 6 – Crab Spider from India

 

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Subject: Spider info needed
Location: Satara, Maharashtra, India
October 13, 2014 12:48 am
Hi,
We got this spider clicked at Satara, Maharashtra, India. Not sure what species and name of this Spider.
Size of this spider is about 6 – 8 mm.
Need details of this Spider please.
Signature: Chetan

Dear Chetan,
This is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, and like your individual, many members of this family have camouflage coloration that allows them to hide in flowers where they ambush pollinating insects.  We will attempt to identify the species for you.

 

Letter 7 – Crab Spider from Ecuador

 

Subject: White crab spider in Ecuador
Location: Puerto Lopez, Manabi Province, Ecuador
November 27, 2014 7:26 pm
November 25, 2014, which was a clear day in the middle of several overcast days.
This seems to be a spider in the family Thomisidae but I am trying to determine which subfamily. It was on this clothes pin on our clothes line. When I took the pin off of the line, I noticed the spider and dropped it on the deck. That is where it stayed while I took the picture.
Do you know which subfamily it belongs to?
Signature: Emily in Ecuador

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Dear Emily,
To the best of our knowledge, subfamilies in the family Thomisidae are not recognized.  Your spider resembles members of the genus
Misumena that are known as Flower Spiders and in North America.  You can read more about the genus on BugGuide.

Letter 8 – Crab Spider from Haiti

 

Subject: green spider I.D?
Location: Haiti
August 13, 2016 9:29 pm
Hi, this green spider was seen at Thomassin (Haiti) in about 1000 m. of altitude.
I would love to know its name.
thx,
Signature: Philippe

Crab Spider
Crab Spider

Dear Philippe,
We hope you are as amused as we are that this spider you found at Thomassin, Haiti is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae, but alas, we have not had any luck determining the species.  Crab Spider can be identified because their front two pairs of legs are considerably longer than the remaining two pairs of legs.  Your image also nicely documents the eye arrangement pattern, which can be compared to the eye pattern of the family Thomisidae on BugGuide.

Dear Daniel,
I greatly appreciate your help. Based on the information you gave me I made a couple research on it and I tink its probably a Rejanellus pallescens.
Thank you so much,
Philippe

Letter 9 – Crab Spider from Kenya

 

Subject:  Small pink beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Nairobi kenya
Date: 11/03/2017
Time: 06:14 AM EDT
At first we thought this was a spider but only 6 legs are visible. It blends in well with our purple and pink flowers. Have you ever seen a pink beetle before? Thanks so much!
How you want your letter signed:  Denise

Crab Spider

Dear Denise,
This is not a beetle.  It is a Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae.  Crab Spiders do not build webs.  Crab Spiders are sometimes called Flower Spiders because they are frequently found on blossoms where they wait for prey.  Like the pink individual in your images, Crab Spiders are often brightly colored to blend in with the colors of the blossoms, effectively camouflaging them while they wait to ambush prey that visits the flowers.  We believe your individual is in the genus
Thomisus.  According to Biodiversity Explorer:  “Thomisus is able to undergo white to yellow or pink colour changes depending on the flower they are sitting on. This colour change facilitates camouflage on flower ambush sites and is completed within 2 days. While colour patterns are species specific, colours can vary. Not all species have this colour changing ability as some species occur on bark or among grass seeds and thus are a cryptic brown. The first and second pairs of legs are noticeably longer and thicker than the last 2 pairs and are used for prey capture. The abdomen is triangular in shape, being widest posteriorly. The lateral eyes are situated on tubercles.”  Your images are awesome.

Crab Spider

Thank you for your amazingly fast reply!
What an amazing spider!  We are so happy to know those interesting facts about the Crab Spider, especially that is has color changing capacities.  Incredible!
Thanks so much,
Denise

Authors

  • 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts
Tags: Crab Spider

Related Posts

2 Comments. Leave new

  • charmandriko
    June 8, 2012 3:17 am

    It’s impossible to know for sure what the species of this spider is without seeing the male palps (the female epigynum is hard to tell apart with mecaphesa) and this doesn’t look like an adult male spider, but based on the general appearance of the spider it looks like a Mecaphesa kanakanus. According to a taxonomic key by Theodore W. Suman from Pacific Insects published back in 1970 (so old!) they did have this species of spider (back then called Misumenops vitellinus) on Kaua’i in Kokee.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

keyboard_arrow_up