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Running Crab Spider (Philodromus spp.)


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



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The Running Crab Spider is always on the hunt for food, stealthily stalking and rapidly dispatching insect prey.



Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
These fast-moving spiders are agile enough to outrun predators as well as human hands trying to collect them. Running Crab Spiders do not spin silk webs to catch an insect. They chase it down, bite it to inject spider venom, and then consume it when convenient. With such alarming speed, it is a comfort to many that this spider remains a small one.

The camouflage brown and tan mottling on a Running Crab Spider makes it difficult to spot it in leaf litter and on tree trunks if it sits motionless. The front pair of legs may look longer than the back legs, but they really are the same length. The way these front pairs of legs are held and how they are used when moving is similar to true Crab Spiders. It may be easy to mistake a Running Crab Spider for a Crab Spider as they are close relatives, but true Crab Spiders have much longer front legs than back legs.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect biting icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon
Venomous insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Philodromidae
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          Genus: Philodromus
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Philodromus spp.
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 2mm to 11mm (0.07" to 0.43")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; tan; red
Descriptors: spiny, spots, crab-like, biting, venomous, hairy
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 2mm (0.1in) and 11mm (0.4in)
Lo: 2mm
Md: 6.5mm
Hi: 11mm
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
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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 Running 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 Running Crab Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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