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Selenopid Crab Spider (Selenops spp.)

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

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The flattened bodies of Selenopid Crab Spiders allows them to hide in tight spots between rocks and other hard places.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Selenopid Crab Spiders have long legs that they sometimes extend out sideways, casting a resemblance to resting crabs. A more familiar resting pose has all eight legs splayed out likes rays of a sun, giving them a larger appearance. They are found in the warmest regions of the U.S. as well as Mexico. Covered in brown speckles and bands, they are easily camouflaged in nature.

The body of this genus of spider looks quite typical for arachnids when viewing it overhead. Their most remarkable feature, however, is best seen in its profile. A low profile results from a flattened body. The abdomen is flat, as if pressed down on with a spatula. This lean profile allows them to squeeze into small crevices and remain hidden from danger. This physical feature has also rendered them the nickname 'flatties'. Selenopid Crab Spiders are nocturnal and hide during the day. At night they emerge and quietly rest, often overlooked in the darkness. For this reason, sightings are rare despite their year-round presence.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Venomous insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Seleopidae
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          Genus: Selenops
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            Species: spp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Selenops spp.
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 13mm (0.31" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black
Descriptors: flat; speckled; legs; long; venomous

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 10.5mm
Hi: 13mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Selenopid 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 Selenopid Crab Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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