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Black Tail Crab Spider (Synema parvulum)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Black Tail Crab Spider

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Though the Black Tail Crab Spider lacks giant claws, it makes up for it with mighty jaws and a great work ethic.

Updated: 01/02/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Crab spiders have longer front legs that sit more forward on the body than typical spiders. Their back pairs of legs are so much shorter and further back than the front pairs that it gives them the appearance of a crab. This particular species is very tiny and reddish-brown. The abdomen is wide and round but also flat on top. The bottom has a black crescent-shaped black mark at the end of the abdomen, as if its rear end was dipped in black ink.

Crab spiders do not use a web to catch prey. They ambush insects, lying in wait inside or on flowers. Because this spider preys on insects that may damage plants and flowers (like aphids and certain beetles), it is considered helpful to the garden ecosystem. They have also been found on piled wood and tree bark. The Black Tail Crab Spider will grab its insect prey, using its long and strong front legs to help pin the victim down. It then bites the prey with its strong jaws, immobilizing it with venom for later consumption. The Black Tail Crab Spider is not known to bite humans, however, and it takes little interest in our activity. Their venom is not poisonous.


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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Helpful insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Thomisidae
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          Genus: Synema
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            Species: parvulum

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Synema parvulum
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 7mm (0.19" to 0.27")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; red
Descriptors: crab; dipped; crescent; venomous; biting; helpful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 7mm (0.3in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 6mm
Hi: 7mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Black Tail Crab Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Black Tail Crab Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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