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Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia)


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



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Whether the bright yellow Goldenrod Crab Spider has or lacks trademark red stripes, the tiny spider stills blends in well with its namesake flowers.



Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This species of spider adeptly uses camouflage as its primary defense as well as offense. It will bite to protect itself if a predator is actually able to see it and attack. Goldenrod Crab Spiders are able to alter their coloration over the course of several days in order to blend in better with their surroundings. This means a bright yellow spider one day may look light green a week later.

This spider is an ambush spider, jumping on its prey. It does this instead of spinning webs, waiting for something to get entangled. Instead, a Goldenrod Crab Spider will sit in the center of a flower, preferably a Goldenrod flower which are yellow, and quietly wait for a bee or butterfly to come and collect pollen. Once near enough, the spider will close in and grab it. Very long front pairs of legs are used to grasp the insect prey, then the spider bites it to immobilize it. This species of spider is able to grab insects much bigger than itself with those strong legs. The longer front legs are usually stretched out to the side, giving the spider a crab-like appearance.

Males are smaller and have dark, black front legs and pale green back legs. The creamy white abdomen has two dark red lines running down the center. The head area is also dark. Younger males have not developed the dark pigmentation and are a light green color. Females may be completely white or yellow. They may or may not have red bands, spots or stripes on the sides of the round and plump abdomen. All the legs on a female are pale, in contrast to the two-toned nature of the male's legs. After mating, a female lays an egg sac, usually under a leaf, and diligently guards it until the spiderlings hatch (in approximately 3 weeks). She dies shortly thereafter.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Thomisidae
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          Genus: Misumena
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            Species: vatia
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Misumena vatia
Other Name(s): Flower Spider
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 9mm (0.11" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: Yellow; red
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 3mm and 9mm
Lo: 3mm
Md: 6mm
Hi: 9mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
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 Goldenrod 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 Goldenrod Crab Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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