Crab Spiders by Steve Pearson
Thomisid Crab Spiders belong to Family Thomisidae and are sometimes called Flower Spiders because they hide in flowers waiting for insects attracted to them. Others are called money spiders because of old wives tales that if you have them in your garden they are supposed to bring you luck with money. There is one spectacular member called the Roswell Alien-face Crab Spider (Poecilothomisus speciosus) that has a pattern on its back just like the pictures of the aliens found at Roswell in New Mexico. This spider is also called the Beautiful Crab Spider.
I have found a few specimens in the rainforest here at Airlie Beach. It is listed as being found in NT and QLD and usually along creek banks. However, I have also found it in the rainforest. I would say that when you think of it – the creek bank trees would have more water than those out in the drier open forest and be much like the rainforest. Possibly more lush and greener leaves which could provide more food and make it easier for the Beautiful Crab Spider to pull the leaves together
for protection from predators and also a hiding place where it waits for its prey.
The Roswell Alien-face Crab Spider is usually found in its home between leaves waiting for unsuspecting prey although it does get out and about looking for prey or new home or to mate. At this point in time it is said no males have been found and are unknown but I have found what I think is the male as it is different in body proportions and colours and the pedipalps are different. This is an important feature between sexes in some other spider families.
If you are familiar with wrens you would be aware that the female wrens of different species can look almost identical so you have to wait to see the males in the group before you can determine which wren species you are looking at. However, some male Crab Spiders are really different to
females of the same species. This is true for the Thomisid Crab Spiders.
Thomisid Crab Spiders are called crab spiders more because of their little claw on the end of their legs that are so strong that when they grab prey they that they lock on like a crab and do not let go of their prey or their anchor points. Thomisid crab spiders also have powerful poison and are very quick to grab and bite and hold much bigger prey like a big butterfly. Thomisid Crab Spiders are easily carried to other parts of Australia as passengers with freighted plant and flower products but are seldom reported.
|Information sources:||Photos taken by Steve Pearson|