Friday, August 5, 2011

Crab Spiders

Oregon, United States
Crab spiders caught my attention recently. The first made me feel very sheepish. I was sketching a bumble bee that was obligingly sitting still (black and white bee on the left). I had nearly finished my quick sketch when I realized the bee was hanging in the jaws of a crab spider. … time start over and include the spider. Fortunately it takes a long time to eat a bee, so I had plenty of time.

Over the next few days I ran into several more crab spiders and did some reading. They are called crab spiders because their two pairs of especially long front legs give them a crab-like appearance. Instead of spinning a web, they are ambush predators, i.e. they wait for prey to come along and grab. Sometimes they wait in the same spot for days, even weeks. Some crab spiders gradually change color to match their surroundings. I soon find there are over 200 species of crab spiders just in North America, so there is little chance I’ll figure out exactly which spider I found, but I do know from the fat abdomen that it is female. The males are much slimmer.
Over the next few days we photographed several crab spiders and finally I found another opportunity to sketch one in the field. I sat on a rock only about three feet away from a hunting spider. This is my unfinished sketch – how far I got sketching while sitting on the rock. Finally the heat and too many flies got the best of me and I finished at home.

To see the finished sketch and others I did at home, go to

1 comment:

  1. That's a beautiful depiction of a crab spider, Elva...they are so colorful.


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