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White Crab Spider
White Crab Spider

Crab spiders
Crab spiders (Thomisidae) is one of the most varied families. It belongs to the order spiders (Araneae) and the suborder Araneomorphae. This family comprises approximately 164 genera (eg Coriarachne, Diaea, Heriaeus, Misumena, Ebrechtella, Monaeses, Ozyptila, Pistius, Runcinia, Synema, Thomisus, Tmarus, Xysticus and Misumenops) with 2042 different species. These include: Coriarachne depressa, Diaea dorsata, Misumena vatia, Ebrechtella tricuspidata, Pistius truncatus, Runcinia grammica, Thomisius onustus, Tmarus piger, Xysticus audax, Xysticus kochi, Xysticus lanio, Xysticus ninnii and Misumenops nepenthicola.
Crab spiders are found throughout the world in the temperate to subtropical zones, and the sub-arctic and alpine areas. Their life expectancy is several years and they mate only once in their lifetime.
Their bodies have bizarre shapes. Their indentations, spots and stripes, as well as their colouration, help them to camouflage themselves. Their colouration ranges from snow white with red stripes, to pale green, brown, bright yellow or emerald green and they are often attractive looking. The body surface can also be longitudinally striped or spotted. Diaea dorsata usually live on leaves, while colourful species are found on flowers, and darker species on tree trunks or near soil.
These spiders have 2 claws on their heads, hence the name "two- clawed-spider". The abdomen is brightly coloured. Crab spiders have 2 very long pairs of front legs. In the males, the first pair of legs can be five times longer than the hind pair of legs. The two pairs of front legs are slightly bent in resting position and face forward. These creatures limbs also enable them to walk sidewards and as a result of this they bear a striking resemblance to crabs.
Although crab spiders are classed as web building spiders, they capture prey by ambushing them without creating a web. As they are good climbers, they are also found on high plants. They benefit from their colouration in two ways. Firstly, they reflect UV light and therefore attract insects. Secondly, they are able to adapt to the colour of their hunting ground (within a few days is possible) and as a result are only observed by their prey when it is too late. They grab the prey with their front legs with lightning speed and kill them by biting them in the neck.
After mating, the females construct a multilayered cocoon, in which they lay their eggs. They then watch over the brood, without eating. After the young spiders have hatched, the females die.

Further chapters of "Crab Spiders"
- Heather Spider
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Photography with Cameras
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1. White Crab Spider
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