An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Crab Spiders Well Camouflaged

9-8-16-crab-spider-20160822_0529Some say crab spiders derived their common name from the way in which they move sideways like a crab. Others liken their first two (longer) pairs of legs to those of crabs. Still others feel their short, wide, flat bodies resemble those of crabs. Whatever the source of their name, this group of spiders consists of ambush predators. Instead of stalking their prey, or catching them in a silk web, crab spiders tend to stay put (often on flowers), and blend into the background as much as possible in order to pounce on unsuspecting prey.

In order to meet with success, crab spiders camouflage themselves extremely well. Some resemble bird droppings, while others look like fruits, leaves, grass, or flowers. The Goldenrod Crab Spider, a fairly common white or yellow crab spider with pink markings, is capable of changing its color from white to yellow over a period of days, depending on the color of the flower it is on. (Crab spiders often remain in the same location for days and even weeks.) The likeness of the pictured crab spider to one of the Turtlehead’s buds is surely not coincidental.

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5 responses

  1. Cheron barton

    Yikes!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    September 8, 2016 at 8:20 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Clever little arachnids! I watched one attack & eat a moth, on Pansies (and got some good photos)

    September 8, 2016 at 8:38 am

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Nice picture! Amazing how they can change color. I have seen purple, yellow and white ones in iris. I painted our den an odd color, not really found in nature. I saw something move on it one day, and sure enough it was a crab spider morphed into the strange color, identical to the wall. I love spiders!
    Mary

    September 8, 2016 at 9:05 am

  4. They are amazing. I posted a photo earlier this summer of one that had caught a bee. Mixed feelings on that one. 😉

    September 8, 2016 at 4:10 pm

  5. Pat

    I never knew they could change to anything other than white or yellow. I’ve watched them pass up a Japanese beetle and patiently and successfully wait for a bee.

    September 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm

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