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Ground Crab Spider (Xysticus spp.)

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

 Updated: 1/20/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Ground Crab Spider  
Picture of Ground-Crab-Spider
Picture of Ground-Crab-Spider Picture of Ground-Crab-SpiderPicture of Ground-Crab-SpiderPicture of Ground-Crab-Spider

The Ground Crab Spider wanders around until it can pounce on an unsuspecting insect victim.

Crab spiders get their name from the resemblance they share with the crustacean as they walk and when they sit at rest. Their crab-like appearance is linked to the slightly longer sets of front legs than back legs. Ground Crab Spiders are able to walk sideways and backwards as well as forward. Not all spiders can do this.

They sit on flowers and leaves, ambushing their prey as it visits the plant. Butterflies, bees, flies and beetles are all targets. The strong front legs are used to grab the insect and then it is quickly bitten and immobilized.

Males use silk to gently secure females before mating. Females lay fertilized eggs in silken sacs that they guard until spiderlings hatch. The Ground Crab Spider does not weave a web for trapping prey.

Picture of the Ground Crab Spider
Picture of the Ground Crab Spider

Ground Crab Spider Information

Category: Spider
Common Name: Ground Crab Spider
Scientific Name: Xysticus spp.

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: Xysticus
       Arrow graphic Species: spp.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 3 mm to 9 mm (0.117 inches to 0.351 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown; black; red; tan
Additional Descriptors: crab, mottled, venomous, biting, spiky, spine, hairy

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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