Spiders that look like crabs come from the Thomisidae family of spiders, which are also called crab spiders. These spiders are found in the deserts of North America and Asia, where they are adapted to the dry conditions there.
These spiders from the Thomisidae family use their claws to capture their prey, which includes everything from snails and small beetles to scorpions and queen termites. Some crab spiders even spin huge webs, and you’ll easily recognize them by looking at their crab-like appearance.
Other spiders look like crabs, but they’re not as similar as the Thomisidae spiders are. They include Sparassidae, Selenopidae, and Philodromidae.
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Spiders that Look Like Crabs
Let’s see what spiders look like crabs and also take a look at some of the characteristics of these spiders.
1. American Green Crab Spider (Misomessus Oblongus)
The American green crab spider, or simply the green crab spider, is a common crab spider that looks like a crab.
This spider is slightly different from other crab spiders because of its green appearance. The American green crab spider is one of the most colorful crab spiders, and its color helps it blend into its surroundings better. This allows it to easily hide from prey (and predators) until it feels like attacking.
This spider will use its front legs to stab its prey with venomous fangs that can instantly kill its victim. It is mostly found in the southeastern United States, but you will also find these crabs in the southern parts of the U.S.
2. Elegant Crab Spider (Xysticus Elegans)
The elegant crab spider looks very similar to a crab. It has a dark brown or black color with some lighter color spots on its body. Its front legs are longer than its hind legs.
This spider is also common in parts of the United States, especially in slightly colder climates such as the north and states like Alaska, and it can also be found in Canada.
These spiders will not be usually found indoors because they prefer to stay outside, where they will prey on smaller insects. This spider doesn’t create a web and it won’t use it to hunt its prey – instead, it likes to rely on its excellent predatory skills and ambushing, which allows it to capture big numbers of insects.
3. Giant Crab Spider (Olios Giganteus)
The giant crab spider looks very similar to a crab. This species appears in Mexico, Central America, and the southwestern United States. This is one of the most common types of spiders found in dry climates.
This spider can easily be recognized by its swollen abdomen and its back having a band of spots that run to the head bow. These spiders can run around quickly on their eight legs.
The giant crab spider is also sometimes called a Golden Huntsman Spider because of its immense hunting skills. This spider will ambush its prey and it will also be able to run very quickly, which makes it a very potent and deadly hunting spider.
Related Article: Does Crabs Live in Water?
4. Ground Crab Spider (Xysticus spp.)
As with all other crab spiders, the ground crab spider is instantly recognizable through its crab-like appearance and powerful front legs which make it look like a crab. This crab spider species is one of the most common crab spiders in the United States, as you might be able to find it in mostly drier areas of the country.
The ground crab spider is also called the ground lynx spider. These spiders are found in western North America and they don’t spin webs. They also wander about the desert on flowers and plants.
The legs of these spiders appear hairy, and it has a pattern on its back of dark spots and stripes. It uses its front legs similar to a crab, where it will hold onto an insect while stabbing it with its fangs.
5. Tan Crab Spider (Xysticus Ferox)
The Xysticus ferox is a crab-like spider that is commonly found in parts of the United States and Canada, especially the northeastern states of the United States and the southern parts of Canada.
The crab spider can easily be recognized by its crab-like appearance, thanks to the forward-facing front legs which it uses to kill its prey. It is also found in areas where ant species are present. It uses its crab-like legs to quickly stab or grab onto an ant or fly, which is then injected with venom that will kill the prey instantly.
Read More: Most Venomous Tarantula in the World
The spider is dark-brown in colors with some brighter and darker patches on its body, which makes it resemble a crab much more than some other crab spiders on this list.
6. Tuberculated Crab Spider (Tmarus Angulatus)
The tuberculated crab spider is very unique. It still has long and forward-facing front legs, but they are much longer and much more spiked than the legs of other crab spider species. You can easily notice its crab-like appearance by looking at the spiny front legs which it uses to kill its prey.
The front four legs of the tuberculated crab spider are darker; the back two pairs of legs are yellow. It also has four pairs of eyes, which are well-placed on its head.
This spider is also called a katipo bug because of their hunting skills, especially when they’re hunting for ants. They’re also very good at hunting pollinating insects so you might be able to find them in areas where those insects live.
Did you Know: Crabs can be Orange
Other Spiders that Look Like Crabs
These were the most common spiders that look like crabs, but many other spiders also resemble crabs, such as:
- Swift crab spider
- Tan crab spider
- Black-banded crab spider
- Northern crab spider
- White-banded crab spider
- Diaea livens
- Metallic crab spider
Many spiders look like crabs. Most of these spiders belong to the Thmoisidae family of spiders, which is generally known for its crab-like appearance.
This spider group has a lot of variety, and they can be found in many different habitats all over the world. Crab-like legs are generally used to hunt insects like flies, ants, bees, and other types of small insects.
These spiders tend to live outside in grassy areas where they blend in with their surroundings much easier, which makes it easier for them to hunt their prey without any predators noticing that the spider is there until it’s too late.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.