Crab spiders belong to the Thomisidae family of spiders which has over two thousand different species. They are also referred to as flower crab spiders or flower spiders. These spiders have predator habits where instead of constructing a nest to trap prey they lie in wait on flowers and wait for bees and other insects to come their way. Crab spiders are not a danger to human beings only biting when trapped and in self defence.
These spiders are not native to one particular climate because the various species can be found all around the world.
Why are they called crab spiders?
These little creatures have movements similar to crabs and they look like crabs as well. They are brown in color with two large powerful legs that they use to trap prey. They use their hind legs to crab walk with the familiar sideways scuttle of a crab earning themselves the name crab spider.
Also, like crabs, they prefer camouflage as a defense mechanism and hunting tactic. They never run down prey instead prey always comes to them because they look like dry leaves, fruit, or grass on the flower. When they have their prey in their strong forearms they deliver poisonous venom into their system with a bit effectively incapacitating them or killing them. These little guys can render much larger prey like large insects immobile with their venom.
Crab spiders can reproduce within weeks of mating as the female lay eggs and place them in two silken sacs. The two sacs are enjoined at the center and the female crab spider stays close to the eggs protecting them from predators. When the little spiders hatch they resemble adults but they have some molting to do before they can become mature and fertile.
The crab spider bite
They are too small to do any lasting damage to human beings. Their mouth parts are tiny meaning they would find it hard to pierce human skin. There are giant crab spiders, also known as huntsman spiders, that can bite a human being but even they don’t have much of an effect on humans.
The giant crab spider is among the largest spiders in Northern America. Its body can fit into the palm of your hand excluding the legs. These species also looks like a crab and moves sideways but it has a distinct advantage over other crab spiders: speed. It moves incredibly fast to snatch up its pry before it gets away.
Benefits of crab spiders
These spiders do not like to inhabit indoor areas. They are outdoors spiders that like to hide in crack and crevices in the ground. Their biggest benefit to human beings is their ability to feed on pesky insects like mosquitoes and flies. Considering the fact that they do not bite, live outdoors and they eat insects that make your life a living hell having a few crab spiders around doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. They are a great deterrent to mosquito and fly infestations.