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Crab Spider (Mecaphesa spp.)


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



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Image Credit: Noah Blades Photography
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Image Credit: Cyrus C. from El Paso, TX
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Image Credit: Noah Blades Photography
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With long, outstretched front legs, Crab Spiders bear a resemblance to their crustacean cousins even though they don't always walk sideways.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. The long front legs may be used to help hold down big or combative insects. Strong jaws help Crab Spider inject venom into prey, 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. They may be green, yellow, white, red, brown or a mix of many colors, making them difficult to spot on bright petals and blooms.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Hairy 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: Mecaphesa
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Mecaphesa spp.
Other Name(s): Flower Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.19" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, green, red
Descriptors: hairy, lime, bright, legs, wide
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 10mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the 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 Crab Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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