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Crab Spider

The crab spider is one of the most widespread species found on Planet Earth.

The crab spider belongs to the Thomisidae family of the Araneae order. Since they resemble he crabs in their forbearance, they are refereed to as crab spiders. Unlike other species of spiders, they don’t weave the web, but will grab the prey with their front legs and inject their venom. This venom is highly toxic for the small prey, which are usually pollinating insects such as bees and flies. They are present on flowers and leaves and can camouflage themselves quite easily. This is the reason that it becomes very difficult for their prey to spot them.

Just like the crabs, they are also able to move sideways and backwards as well. Also their front legs are angled just like crabs and hence the name. The bodies of these spiders are flattened just like that of the crabs instead of the usually rounded bodies of the spiders. With their angular front legs, they resemble small crabs. Just like the crabs hold their prey with their pinchers, these spiders will also hold their prey with the front two legs. There are more than 3000 varieties or species of crab spiders that are found worldwide. They can be found in all parts of the world except for the Artic region and Greenland.

Patient predators and can also change their color to match that of the surrounding vegetation.

All species of these spiders are hunters and predators in that respect and wait for unsuspecting prey to pass through, before hunting them down. This is arson that that they are extremely patient hunters that can wait for the prey to come to them, rather than the other way round. They can hide among bark of the tress, leaves, fruit, leaf litter that has fallen on the ground etc. they have extremely powerful front legs that are used to hold the prey and paralyze it before eating it. A variant of the species known as Misumena vatia can even change its color to match the surrounding environment. These spiders don’t cause any harm to the human population.

Since they can change their color to match the vegetation and available surrounding, they don’t need to be active hunters at all. Rather they can easily wait, since the prey will come to them easily. This is the reason that they are found usually among the pollinating flowers, leaves and leaf litter, where they are indistinguishable from the rest of the environment. When they kill their prey, they will completely suck it dry of all its juices. Often they can remain in the same spot of days or even weeks. This is the reason, that they are also easily seen by predators. However they can quickly get away since they have well developed eyesight and have to big eyes in the front.

Their size usually ranges between 4 - 10 mm. it has been estimated that there are about 125 species of the crab spider currently in the US. The size of females is usually larger. In some species the size may also wary between the male and the female species.

The color of the females is different than that of the males.


The mating procedure for the crab spiders is specialized, where the male will actually deposit a drop of its sperm which are taken through leg like structures known as palps. During the process of mating, the sperm will then enter the females, reproductive organ that is known as epigyne. After the mating ritual is over, the females will lay eggs and will weave a protective cocoon around the eggs. Females of this species are extremely dedicated mothers. They will stand guard over the cocoon which has the egg for a period of 3 weeks. During this time, the female won’t move or eat. After the eggs hatch out and the little baby spiders are born, the mother will die.

At this point this species faces no immediate threat of conservation. They are found in plenty and can be found in all parts of the world. Other unrelated species of spiders known as Sicarius and Gasteracantha cancriformis are also sometimes commonly refried to as the crab spiders.

Trubad Hassan
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