Misumenoides formosipes (Whitebanded Crab Spider)

About Misumenoides formosipes

Taxonomic Hierarchy

→ Kingdom: Animalia
→ Phylum: Arthropoda
→ Class: Arachnida
→ Order: Araneae
→ Family: Thomisidae
→ Genus: Misumenoides
→ Species: Misumenoides formosipes

Common Name (Official / AAS)

Whitebanded Crab Spider

Other Common Names

Flower Crab Spider, Yellow Crab Spider, White Crab Spider, Ridge-faced Flower Spider

Author

Author of species name: Charles Walckenaer. First year published: 1837, as Thomisus formosipes.

Pronunciation

mis-oo-men-OY-deez for-MOSS-ih-peez

Meaning

The genus name Misumenoides is derived from Misumena, Greek for “being hated,” along with the addition of –oides, “having the form of” (Cameron 2005). In Latin, formosipes translates to “beautiful foot.”

Notable Previous Names

Misumena aleatoria
Misumenoides aleatorius

Identifying Traits of Misumenoides formosipes

Size

Body length (excluding legs) of adult female ranges from 5-12 mm; adult males range from 2.5-4 mm.

Female Primary Colors

Male Primary Colors

Eye diagram of Misumenoides formosipes

Eyes

Total of eight eyes. Viewed from the front as two horizontal rows of four; posterior (back) eye row straight, whereas the anterior row is recurved. Eyes are small and widely spaced. Tip: a view of the eyes from the front can distinguish this species from the similar looking “Goldenrod crab spider” (Misumena vatia). In the “Whitebanded crab spider,” there is a conspicuous, white, transverse ridge below the eyes called a “clypeal carina.” Misumena vatia does not have such a ridge. It is easily seen in actual photos of the spiders, however you will not see it in our black and white line drawing of the eye arrangement.

Legs

Front two pairs of legs are much longer and stronger than the short rear pairs. Female’s legs can be plain white or yellow or include darker markings near the joints. The male’s front pairs of legs are dark brown or black; back leg pairs are pale. The prey capturing stance of these spiders is very noticeable: front pairs of legs spread wide open, ready to snatch whatever insect comes too close. Crab spiders have what is called a “laterigrade leg orientation,” which describes the way their legs are rotated at the base so that they can walk sideways (like a real crab would do). Tip of each leg has 2 claws.

Body

Range of Misumenoides formosipes

Misumenoides formosipes can be found in the following states, provinces and territories across the United States and Canada. Our current understanding of each spider's distribution is drawn from numerous scientific publications and online spider submissions, in order to be as accurate as possible. It is important to remember that spiders do not adhere to the territorial lines decided on by humans, therefore these ranges are subject to change.

Important Range Notes

This species is uncommon in the Great Basin area, though we still included those states in our distribution list as it is still possible to find them there.

United States

Canada

Additional Information

Habitat

Common on all sorts of flowers, herbs, and shrubs in pastures, gardens, orchards, and other similar places.

Web

This species is a sit-and-wait predator that does not use a web for prey capture. Instead, they sit perched atop flowers with their front pairs of legs spread open wide in preparation for capturing whatever unlucky insect comes near. They do, however, produce safety lines (in case of a fall) and egg sacs out of their silk.

Season

Maturity is reached sometime in the summer or fall; males sooner than females.

Food

Like many spider species, this one is opportunistic and will eat whatever insect or spider it can capture. Because of their chosen habitat, the majority of their diet includes pollinators (e.g. bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies, moths, syrphid flies, etc). Interestingly, the male has even been known to sometimes drink plant nectar; whilst trying to find a mate, they do not actively hunt prey, so the nectar keeps them hydrated and energized for the journey. In fact, research suggests that males who drink nectar actually live longer than those who do not (Pollard et al. 1995). Primarily daytime feeders, they are also known to feed late into the night on warm days when insect activity is high, which suggests that they are not solely dependent on their vision for capturing prey.

Lifecycle

This is an annual species (lives only one year). Mating takes place sometime in the summer or fall. The female then spins a white, lens-shaped egg sac among the foliage of her choice. At roughly 10-14mm in diameter, it can contain anywhere from 80 to 180 tan-colored eggs. She stands guard over the eggs until her death at the onset of winter. The eggs hatch about a month after they were deposited but the spiderlings (babies) typically stay inside the silken pouch until spring time. With egg sacs kept indoors in captivity, the spiderlings will likely leave the egg sac sooner, though.

Remarks

Pictures of Misumenoides formosipes (Whitebanded Crab Spider)

General

Female Spiders

Male Spiders

Filtering options are grayed out when we do not have pictures for the given perspective. If you are a spider photographer, you can submit pictures of spiders to help fill any voids in our ever expanding library.
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Lynx
  • State: Ohio
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Letcher County
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Ventral
  • City/Region: Letcher County
  • State: Kentucky
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Shawnee County
  • State: Kansas
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Immature
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Eyes
  • City/Region: Sapulpa
  • State: Oklahoma
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal, Gravid
  • City/Region: Oklahoma City
  • State: Oklahoma
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: MaleMale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Dorsal
  • City/Region: Milton
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Waterloo Recreation Area, Washtenaw County
  • State: Michigan
  • Country: United States
  • Misumenoides formosipes
  • Sex: FemaleFemale
  • Maturity: Adult
  • Attributes: Eyes
  • City/Region: Bolton
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States

References and Further Reading

Various Research Papers

Scientific Diagrams and Keys for Identification

References for the Casual Reader

Species guide last updated: May 29, 2016

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