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Ground Crab Spider (Xysticus spp.)


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

 Updated: 1/16/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Ground Crab Spider wanders around, walking in all directions if it has to, until it can pounce on an unsuspecting insect victim.



Crab Spiders get their name from their resemblance to the crustacean. Their crab-like appearance stems from the slightly longer sets of front legs than back legs. Ground Crab Spiders are able to walk sideways and backwards as well as forward, meaning their behavior as well as their morphology mimics crabs. Not all spiders can maneuver like this one.

Ground Crab Spiders are brown and covered in speckles and fine hairs. They sit on flowers and leaves, ambushing their prey as it visits the plant; they are not ones to build a web and wait around for a meal. They do, however, make and use spider silk. Males use silk to gently secure females before mating. Females lay fertilized eggs in silken sacs that they guard until spiderlings hatch. Typically found foraging through leaf litter or low-growing plants, resting butterflies, bees, flies and beetles are all edible targets for Ground Crab Spiders. The strong front legs are used to grab the insect and then it is quickly bitten and immobilized.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Thomisidae
          Genus: Xysticus
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Xysticus spp.
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 9mm (0.12in to 0.35in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; red; tan
Descriptors: crab, mottled, venomous, biting, spiky, spine, hairy
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Spider Anatomy
Graphic showing basic parts of spider anatomy
1
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
2
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
3
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
5
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).