Common Crab Spiders
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Scientific name: Xysticus cristatus
Size: The female grows to a length of around 8mm and the male is a little smaller growing to around 5mm
Distribution: Common throughout the UK
Months seen: March to August
Habitat: Low growing vegetation - often on the ground
Special features: As the name suggests, Common Crab spiders sometimes move in a crab-like way, from side to side. The longer pairs of front legs are also reminiscent of crabs.
They hunt their prey by jumping on unsuspecting victims. In the photos above you can see they catch prey much larger than themselves. Although the insect is as big as her, the spider has managed to sink her fangs into the back of the insects neck and has injected it with her paralysing poison.
The male common crab spider has an unusual method of mating with the female. First he grabs hold of one of her legs, and waits until she stops struggling. He then ties her down to the ground with threads of silk. Finally he crawls underneath her to mate.
Common crab spiders have reasonably good eyesight, and because of the position of their eyes, can almost see things behind them.