Home / Crab Spiders / Goldenrod Crab (Misumena vatia)

Goldenrod Crab (Misumena vatia)

The Goldenrod Crab Spider is a species of color-changing flower spiders. These creatures do not spin webs, but use silk to capture the prey or hold the eggs. They are known to have a good vision and are chance predators. Known by many other names like flower spider, flower crab spider, and smooth flower crab spider, they are mostly seen during bright and sunny summer days, the time when pollinators are present.

Scientific Classification

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Female body length 8-10 mm; male 4-5 mm (excluding legs).

Color: The diet and environment of the creature affect its overall body color. The colors vary greatly, ranging from yellow to pale green to white. They have the ability to change the body color, depending upon their environment or the flower they are sitting upon, over the course of a few days. They use their color changing ability both for offense against their prey, as also defense against predators.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Size

Other Characteristic Features: The two pairs of front legs are longer than the others. All the legs are spread out from the two sides like a crab, which has gained the family its name. The female of the species has red dorso-lateral stripes on the abdomen that the males lack.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Male

Female Goldenrod Crab Spider

Eggs

After mating, the female spider lays a sac of eggs, generally under a leaf. It wraps the egg sac in silk and a folded leaf. The female guards the eggs till they hatch, which takes around three weeks, after which it dies.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Egg

Spiderlings

When born, the juveniles look very much the same as their adult counterparts, except for their tiny size. As they grow up, they undergo the process of molting. The baby spiders reach a size of about 5 mm by autumn, and spend their time on the ground with the arrival of the winter season. As the summer sets in the following year, the young ones molt for the last time, in around May.

Goldenrod Crab Spiderlings

How Poisonous is the Goldenrod Crab Spider

Their poison is fatal to the insects and can numb them within a few seconds. However, it is not known to cause harm to humans, except for some symptoms including redness, rashes, itching and/or burning, all of which disappear with simple local medications.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Web
Goldenrod Crab Spider Habitat

Quick Facts

Lifespan Not known, but probably around two years
Distribution North America, Europe, northern parts of Asia
Habitat Mostly found on flowers including sunflowers, daisies, as well as flowers of herbs and shrubs, and at times, on leaves. They are often located in grasslands and meadows, clearings, human-made city gardens, wetlands, and various other non-forest habitats
Common predators Lizards, birds, large species of wasps, ants, other spiders, as well as shrews
Diet Mostly insects that visit flowers including bees, smaller wasps, butterflies, grasshoppers, and flies.
Goldenrod Crab Spider Bite
Picture of a Goldenrod Crab Spider

Did You Know

  • Changing their body color to yellow is relatively difficult for them. While it takes around 5-6 days to turn from yellow to white, the reverse takes between 10 and 25 days.
  • They can easily crawl or walk sideways, backward, as well as forward.
  • By virtue of their highly potent venom, they can even catch larger prey than itself.

Image Credit: C1.staticflickr.com, Animalsofupstateny.weebly.com, Rodplanck.com, Magickcanoe.com, Projectnoah.org,
Ohioline.osu.edu, Jungledragon.com, Centralcoastbiodiversity.org, Btweenblinks.files.wordpress.com

The Goldenrod Crab Spider is a species of color-changing flower spiders. These creatures do not spin webs, but use silk to capture the prey or hold the eggs. They are known to have a good vision and are chance predators. Known by many other names like flower spider, flower crab spider, and smooth flower crab spider, they are mostly seen during bright and sunny summer days, the time when pollinators are present.

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Physical Description and Identification

Adults

Size: Female body length 8-10 mm; male 4-5 mm (excluding legs).

Color: The diet and environment of the creature affect its overall body color. The colors vary greatly, ranging from yellow to pale green to white. They have the ability to change the body color, depending upon their environment or the flower they are sitting upon, over the course of a few days. They use their color changing ability both for offense against their prey, as also defense against predators.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Size

Other Characteristic Features: The two pairs of front legs are longer than the others. All the legs are spread out from the two sides like a crab, which has gained the family its name. The female of the species has red dorso-lateral stripes on the abdomen that the males lack.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Male

Female Goldenrod Crab Spider

Eggs

After mating, the female spider lays a sac of eggs, generally under a leaf. It wraps the egg sac in silk and a folded leaf. The female guards the eggs till they hatch, which takes around three weeks, after which it dies.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Egg

Spiderlings

When born, the juveniles look very much the same as their adult counterparts, except for their tiny size. As they grow up, they undergo the process of molting. The baby spiders reach a size of about 5 mm by autumn, and spend their time on the ground with the arrival of the winter season. As the summer sets in the following year, the young ones molt for the last time, in around May.

Goldenrod Crab Spiderlings

How Poisonous is the Goldenrod Crab Spider

Their poison is fatal to the insects and can numb them within a few seconds. However, it is not known to cause harm to humans, except for some symptoms including redness, rashes, itching and/or burning, all of which disappear with simple local medications.

Goldenrod Crab Spider Web
Goldenrod Crab Spider Habitat

Quick Facts

Lifespan Not known, but probably around two years
Distribution North America, Europe, northern parts of Asia
Habitat Mostly found on flowers including sunflowers, daisies, as well as flowers of herbs and shrubs, and at times, on leaves. They are often located in grasslands and meadows, clearings, human-made city gardens, wetlands, and various other non-forest habitats
Common predators Lizards, birds, large species of wasps, ants, other spiders, as well as shrews
Diet Mostly insects that visit flowers including bees, smaller wasps, butterflies, grasshoppers, and flies.
Goldenrod Crab Spider Bite
Picture of a Goldenrod Crab Spider

Did You Know

  • Changing their body color to yellow is relatively difficult for them. While it takes around 5-6 days to turn from yellow to white, the reverse takes between 10 and 25 days.
  • They can easily crawl or walk sideways, backward, as well as forward.
  • By virtue of their highly potent venom, they can even catch larger prey than itself.

Image Credit: C1.staticflickr.com, Animalsofupstateny.weebly.com, Rodplanck.com, Magickcanoe.com, Projectnoah.org,
Ohioline.osu.edu, Jungledragon.com, Centralcoastbiodiversity.org, Btweenblinks.files.wordpress.com

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