Crab Spiders In Florida. Black dots on top and yellow dots on the bottom with spines that are red.

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You may call them Crab Spiders but these guys are actually Gastrecantha carciforms and are also known as tiny orb spiders. This class of spiders or arachnid’s can be found from Florida to North Carolina and west to California. This particular species belong to a pantropical genius from Europe.

Crab Spiders In Florida. Black dots on top and yellow dots on the bottom with spines that are red.
The star spider is a colorful species found across the southern part of the United States, from California to Florida, as well as in Central America, Jamaica, and Cuba. Also known as spiny backed orbweaver, the species is commonly found in trees or around trees in shrubs. The species has been extensively studied in citrus groves in Florida, where they are known as crab spiders.

The crab spider’s markings are black dots on top and yellow dots on the bottom with spines that are red. Because of these markings it is an easy spider to identify. Because this spider can have a variety of different shapes and colors of its abdominal spines it was described by scientists under so many names, that it would be to much to list them here. The term crab spider is referred to its appearance, and is commonly called this in most parts of Florida. However, this spider is not part of the Thomisidoe family.

It has been described by scientists under so many names, that it would be too much to list them here. Because of its movements and appearance, most Florida residents call it a “crab spider”. Please do not mistake it as part of the Thomisidoe family, also called “Crab Spiders”.

The male and female crab spiders have differing colors, having a black carapace, legs, and venter, with some white spots on the underside of the stomach. Florida specimens have white with black spotted back on their stomach. Other spiders in other areas may have a yellow back, instead of the white, or they can have black instead of red. They also could be almost entirely black on their dorsal and ventral areas. The male may also have four or five small humps instead of abdominal spikes like the female has.

For mating, the male spider will hang by a single thread from the female’s web prior to the event. The female crab spider can lay 101-256 egg covered by egg sacs. These eggs can measure 20-25 millimeters long and 10-15 millimeters wide. You can usually find these eggs on the underside of leaves, somewhere near the mother’s web from around October to January. All parental care in crablike orb weavers occurs before the young hatch. After the female lays an egg mass, she dies. Although these eggs are laid in high numbers, they are preyed upon by Phorid Flies and Parasitoid Wasps.

Crab Spiders In Florida. Black dots on top and yellow dots on the bottom with spines that are red.
Male crab spider Ozyptila praticola of the Thomisidoe family, head-on view.

When these spiders mate, the male spider will hang by a single thread from the female’s web prior to them mating. The female tiny orb spider can lay a whopping 101-256 egg covered by egg sacs. These eggs can measure 20-25 millimeters long and 10-15 millimeters wide. You can typically find these eggs on the underside of a leaf, near the mother’s web, around October to January. Although these eggs are laid in high numbers, they have natural predators. Eggs typically hatch 11-13 days after they are laid and take an additional 7-10 days to become spiders. After all that the spiders will take another 2-5 weeks to be able to make some very tiny, inconspicuous orb webs. The spiders will start growing larger around late summer and early fall. The typical lunch for these types of spiders are whiteflies, flies, moths, beetles, and gnats caught in their webs.

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