Female ©Gilbert Loos

Common crab spider

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Crab spiders get their name from the elongated first and second leg pair that together look a bit like claws of a crab. They often move in jerks and can even walk sideways, strongly reminiscent of crabs.

Common crab spider (Xysticus cristatus)

Web: Crab spiders don’t make catching webs, but use their elongated first and second legs to overpower their prey. They are sit and wait predators, often well camouflaged and laying in an ambush to surprise passing prey.

Habitat: in many different environments such as grassland, on bushes and other low vegetation, rather in open habitats.

How to recognize:

  • light to dark brown colour
  • cephalothorax with clear dark triangle
  • abdomen with a lighter pattern (in the shape of a pine tree)

Looks similar to:

  • several other Xysticus species. Only close study with a stereomicroscope will allow for a certain identification.


♀: 9-11 mm

♂: 3-4 mm


♀: April till August

♂: April till August