These spiders have long forelegs and a widespread stance much like crabs do, hence their name. It’s easier to identify this spider based on its crab-like shape rather than its color. Its color is not very unique or specific simply for camouflage purposes. They range in color from spotty blacks, greys, browns, and maybe some tans which we suspect are to blend in easily with tree bark and the woodland ground. The female has been recorded to reach ½” in length while the male hardly gets up to half that size, ¼”. The female still makes a silken egg sac, for her soon to hatch spiderlings, though crab spiders do not actually spin webs. The female will usually die off when the spiderlings start to emerge or before. She guards and protects the sac until this point.
This crab spider’s preferred habitat includes low vegetation in woodland areas. They also like to crawl among fallen bark and other debris on the ground. Ground crab spiders are common throughout the United States and have actually been discovered in most of the world.
They catch small insects, but not by web. These spiders do not make webs. Instead, they are considered ambush hunters but, surprisingly, they are slow-moving. They catch their prey by stationing themselves in a high-traffic environment and once an arthropod is close enough to grab with its very long front forelegs, it will then give it a deadly, venomous bite. These spiders don’t have a particular predator, perhaps they may be occasionally eaten by larger arthropods, birds, and other small animals.
These spiders have been declared not medically threatening to humans if bitten. The odds of a crab spider, particularly this smaller sized species, biting is very unlikely anyway.
Other NamesXysticus elegans