Crab spiders

Family Thomisidae

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Thomisus spectabilis with a bee

Crab spiders are no active hunters. They make more use of the camouflage techniques than other spiders. They do not make a web but catch their prey with their front legs. The color of the spider is adapted to the hunting terrain they use and is mostly extravagant. They remain unmoved until the prey arrives and catches it. With a poisonous bite (not dangerous to humans) they kill their prey and suck it dry. They can be found on flowers or leaves of plants. Often the crab spider remains for days, even weeks at the same spot. The front two legs, that are often larger and stronger than the other six, are held sideways, ready to catch the prey immediately. Because they sit on easily spotted places they are also easy to catch by the predators. When they spot a possible enemy they move quickly at the other site of the flower or leave. Their eyesight is excellent developed as can be seen on the pictures. They have normally two big front eyes.
Crab spiders are easy recognizable if you tease them. They widen their legs and move side ways like a crab. Their size is between 4 - 10 mm.
The females usually stand guard with their egg sacs. The egg sacs are fastened to the vegetation and are usually flat.


Genus Bomis

The only member is this genus and only occurring in Australia. It is a around 2 mm tiny brown greenish spider. Maybe it is the smallest species in this family. It is widespread in Northern and Eastern Australia. She hides in a bend leaf secured with silk and this is also the place where she lays her eggs.

 
Bomis larvata  Bomis larvata
Bomis larvata by Robert Whyte Bomis larvata by Robert Whyte

Genus Cymbacha

This spider occurs in QLD and NSW. Seven species are described. The spider hides in a rolled leaf. These spiders measure 3 - 7 mm. Males are smaller than females Cymbacha saucia
  Cymbacha saucia
Cymbacha saucia Cymbacha ocellata
Cymbacha saucia Cymbacha ocellata by Robert Whyte

Genus Diaea or flower spider

This spider hides between vegetation, especially in or nearby a flower. Their color is well adapted to its surrounding. Their size is between 5 and 7 mm.

Diaea_evanida
Diaea evanida
A characteristic of this species is the horizontal dark line at the back of her abdomen. The spider is variable in coloring.


Diaea evanida
ZZ152
ZZ151
Diaea ZZ151 Diaea evanida
Diaea cruentata
Diaea cruentata  
Diaea dimidiata Diaea dimidiata
Diaea dimidiata by Robert Whyte Diaea dimidiata by Robert Whyte
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida by Robert Whyte Diaea evanida by Robert Whyte
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea evanida Diaea evanida
Diaea prasina Diaea punctata
Diaea prasina by Robert Whyte Diaea punctata by Robert Whyte
Diaea ZZ402 Diaea ZZ402
Diaea ZZ400 pilula? Diaea ZZ400 pilula?
ZZ149 ZZ150
Diaea? ZZ149 Diaea? ZZ150


 Genus Hedana

Hedana is a little spider with a long narrow abdomen. It lives between foliage and is difficult to spot.

Hedana ZZ512 Hedana ZZ513
Hedana ZZ512 by Robert Whyte Hedana ZZ512 by Robert Whyte

 Genus Poecilothomisus

This is the sole member of this genus.

The attractive spider has a remarkable apprearance with her orange body, the seven dots on her abdomen and the shiny white legs.

It occurs in NT and QLD. The female has a length of 10 -12 mm.
It is usually found amongst trees along creek banks.

Poecilothomisus speciosus
  Poecilothomisus speciosus NT by Marrissa Howard & Ben McCoy

 Genus Porropis

 
Porropis ZZ603 by Robert Whyte  

 Genus Runcinia

Runcinia acuminata is the only member of this genus in Australia. The name Runcinia elongata is not used anymore. The long oval abdomen has long stripes at the side. Eyes are small. They occur Australia-wide. The female reach a length of 10 mm and the males 6 mm. Females guard their egg-sacs they camouflages with fragments of grass flowers and seed-heads.
Spiders are found on bushes, flowers and in seeding heads of grasses.
Here she is found on the orchid Thelymitra adorata.
The orchid is a terrestrial orchid growing near wetland edges with melaleuca and eucalypt. It is critically endangered with fewer than 100 plants located this past flowering season (2011).

Runcinia acuminata on orchid Thelymitra adorata photo by Boris Branwhite, Wyong terrestrial orchid research, NSW

 Genus Stephanopis

Stephanopis barbipes
Stephanopis barbipes male
barbipes means bearded Stephanopis barbipes female. The female resembles Sidymella lobata
Stephanopis barbipes male Stephanopis altifrons
Stephanopis corticalis? Stephanopis pustulosa

Stephanopsis can be recognized because it is adorned with spines and tubercles resembling the rough bark on which it lives.

Stephanopis pictures by Robert Whyte

   

 Genus Sidymella

A genus with eight described species distributed all over Australia.
They can be recognized by their trangular shaped abdomen.
Their size is aproximately 7 mm.
These crab spiders can be found on flowers and foliage where they are good camouglaged by their colouring, ranging between brown, orange and yellow.

 
Sidymella ZZ144 (Vic) by Michael Barritt Sidymella ZZ144 (Vic) by Michael Barritt
Sidymella trapezia Sidymella trapezia
Sidymella trapezia Sidymella trapezia
Sidymella trapezia Sidymella trapezia
Sidymella trapezia Sidymella trapezia
Sidymella hirsuta
Sidymella hirsuta (= hairy) by John Mansfield NSW Sidymella hirsuta by Robert Whyte
Sidymella lobata Sidymella lobata
Sidymella lobata by Robert Whyte Sidymella lobata by Robert Whyte
Sidymella rubrosignata Sidymella ZZ477
Sidymella rubrosignata by Robert Whyte Sidymella ZZ477 by Robert Whyte
Sidymella ZZ591 Sidymella ZZ546
Sidymella ZZ591 by Robert Whyte Sidymella ZZ546 by Robert Whyte
Sidymella ZZ586 Sidymella ZZ592
Sidymella ZZ586 by Robert Whyte Sidymella ZZ592 by Robert Whyte

 Genus Tharpyna

The seven described spiders in this genus live on and under bark of trees.
The spiders are dark brown to black with white or yellow spots and other markings.
The spiders are nocturnal. Their size is 5 - 12 mm

 
Tharpyna campestrata Tharpyna campestrata
Tharpyna campestrata male WA Tharpyna campestrata female WA
Tharpyna diademata Tharpyna diademata
Tharpyna diademata by Robert Whyte Tharpyna diademata by Robert Whyte

 


Genus Thomisus

This is the only species known in this genus in Australia. Its name is Thomisus spectabilis.
As can been seen on the picture below they even catch bees. The spider seizes the bee by its front legs and bites it in the neck. The spider keeps its hold on the bee till the bee gives up its resistance.

Thomisus spectabilis
Thomisus_spectabilis_F0702


Thomisus spectabilis male and yellow form (by Robert Whyte)

Thomisus spectabilis white faced
Thomisus_spectabilis_F0720
Thomisus spectabilis brown faced
Thomisus_spectabilis_F0692

 Genus Tmarus

Nine species are present in Australia. Their color is gray/brown and the are well camouflaged because they can be found along the margins of dead and living leaves or dead twigs. They build small retreats by folding the tip of leaves or grasses. Tmarus can be found hanging at the end of a single snare.
Tmarus marmoreus
Tmarus marmoreus Tmarus marmoreus
Tmarus marmoreus Tmarus marmoreus Hiding place in a bend leaf
Tmarus marmoreus Tmarus marmoreus
Tmarus marmoreus Tmarus marmoreus by Robert Whyte
Tmarus cinerascens
Tmarus cinerascens
Tmarus cinerascens detail of the cephalothorax. Tmarus cinerascens with a prey (by Jurgen Otto)
Tmarus ZZ615 Tmarus ZZ615
Tmarus ZZ615 Tmarus ZZ615
Tmarus ZZ622 Tmarus ZZ622
Tmarus ZZ622 Tmarus ZZ622

 Genus Xysticus
Xysticus is found more on plant itself and bark of trees than on flowers. The color of the abdomen is therefore light to dark brown and the form is oval to triangular.

Xysticus bilimbatus Xysticus bilimbatus
Xysticus bilimbatus by Robert Whyte Xysticus bilimbatus by Robert Whyte
Xysticus geometres Xysticus geometres
Xysticus geometres by Robert Whyte Xysticus geometres by Robert Whyte
Xysticus geometres Xysticus geometres
Xysticus geometres by Robert Whyte Xysticus geometres by Robert Whyte

 

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Ed Nieuwenhuys, 14 April 2012
20 October 2011, 26 February 2011, 24 January 2010,
January 4, 2009 Ronald Loggen, 5 December 2005

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