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Crab Spider (Mecaphesa spp.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Crab Spider, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/24/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Crab Spider  
Picture of Crab-Spider-Mecaphesa
Picture of Crab-Spider-Mecaphesa Picture of Crab-Spider-Mecaphesa

With long, outstretched front legs, Crab Spiders bear a resemblance to their crustacean cousins though they don't always walk sideways.

Crab Spiders are commonly seen in flowers where they wait for insects to wander by. Fast and agile, the Crab Spider can capture a fly, bee, or beetle and inject venom to paralyze it. Strong jaws help Crab Spiders secure a meal and their strong legs carry it back to a retreat for consumption. The species of Crab Spiders in the Mecaphesa genus have tiny hairs protruding from the head, legs, and body. Look for them on flowers, under petals or on adjacent leaves.

Picture of the Crab Spider
Picture of the Crab Spider

Crab Spider Information

Category: Spider
Common Name: Crab Spider
Scientific Name: Mecaphesa spp.
Other Name(s): Flower Spider

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Arachnida
    Arrow graphic Order: Araneae
     Arrow graphic Family: Thomisidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Mecaphesa
       Arrow graphic Species: spp.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 5 mm to 10 mm (0.195 inches to 0.39 inches)
Identifying Colors: yellow, green
Additional Descriptors: hairy, lime, bright, legs, wide

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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