The Giant Crab Spider, Olios giganteus, may be called as such because they are able to quickly move sideways. They also have a propensity for extending their legs at right angles relative to the rest of their bodies, giving them a crab-like appearance.
While crab spiders are actually comprised of many species of spiders, the Giant Crab Spider is one of the largest spiders you’ll encounter in the state of Arizona.
They are also known as Golden Huntsman Spiders, or just Huntsman Spiders because of their speed and way of hunting. They can wander around in search of food, and while they are ambush predators, they’re also able to run quickly to close in on prey. Some species are also referred to as Wood spiders, because of their preference for woody areas.
They are medium to light brown or light orange, and have a leg span of over 2 inches. Some species have even longer leg spans of 3 to 6 inches. They have 8 legs as all spiders do, however something unique about them is that their legs are laterigrade – this enables them to be oriented in a horizontal plane rather than a vertical plane, and allows them to move sideways very quickly though unlike a lot of crab spiders they may also move in a vertical direction. Their bodies appear to be smoothly furry, but they do have prominent spines on their legs.
On the center of their abdomen is a dark thin line which ends in a point.
They don’t spin webs as nests, instead hiding in infrequently disturbed places such as woodpiles or under piles of rock. They’re able to flatten their bodies to an extent where they can fit in small cracks or fissures. They also typically settle into one place only when they lay eggs (and stay to guard them). Otherwise, they wander around (mostly) at night to look for food.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET:
Giant Crab Spiders don’t have spider webs to nest and hunt in, and instead go around looking for food, often wandering inside homes in search of prey. They like to prey on small insects like crickets that don’t give them too much trouble, even using venom to immobilize prey despite it being typically much smaller than the Giant Crab Spider.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
They aren’t typically aggressive towards humans, only striking in defense. It will be more aggressive in defending itself when it’s also protecting its egg sacs and young.
Their bites aren’t generally considered dangerous to humans, but it does cause pain. Some more extreme symptoms include the following:
- Local swelling
- Heart palpitations
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, or present any other allergic reaction (or think you may be allergic), seek medical attention immediately.
WHEN ARE THEY MOST ACTIVE?
They are most active during the hot summer months.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?
If you find a Giant Crab Spider in your house, do not handle them with your bare hands. Wear gloves, and place a glass jar over the spider. Insert paper under the glass, flip the glass over, and carefully carry the spider outside where you can release it. You can also use a vacuum for this purpose.
If you’d like to make sure that that spider is permanently eliminated, a strong spray of insecticide will do the trick. Of course, you can also use a blunt tool to squish it (if you intend to step on it, it would be a good idea to wear heavy boots).
Otherwise, get in touch with a professional pest control company to take care of the problem for you.
To learn more about spiders, check out our other blog entries in our Spider Archives !