Eight-legged Phantoms
15 May 2007


A Crab Spider Predating on a Hoverfly

Photo by Aymen Ibrahem, Senior Astronomy Specialist

Crab spiders are among the most intriguing spider species. They do not spin webs, but lurk in ambush for prey. They are highly camouflaged, blending with their surroundings. Mr. Aymen Ibrahem, an enthusiastic wildlife photographer, recently conducted extensive observations of crab spiders in Egypt. His photos demonstrate the interesting predatory behavior of the crab-like predators.

Crab spiders are also known as flower spiders, as they often ambush on flowers. Their long front pairs of legs render them a crab-like appearance. They can also move sideways and backwards like crabs.

Crab spiders are usually less than 1 cm across, but some giant crab spiders may exceed 1 inch in extent. The females are often larger in size than the males, with darker colors.

The colors of crab spiders depend on the flower on which they lie, but mostly they are white or yellow. Some have patches or stripes on the abdomen. They may also appear as mimics of petals, buds, or fruits.

Some crab spiders have potent venoms that quickly paralyze the prey. Thus, they dare to attack preys that are much larger in size. They feed on several insects, such as bees, hoverflies and butterflies.

Further Reading

A Close Encounter with a Two-faced Predator


A Ferocious Insectivore


Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem

Senior Astronomy Specialist

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