Procreation of Crab Spiders

14 May 2011
I’ve had several encounters with the common crab spiders in Singapore, and often talked about the difference in size between the male and female. This entry will be on their procreation process, or in other words, how they mate.

A typical adult female crab spider is at least 3 times larger than the male (just a visual estimate, I might be off). The most common ones in Singapore are the white/yellow female ones, and the red/brown male ones. Apparently, the male population is much lower than the female numbers, possibly due to their smaller size, making them an easier prey.

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_3901#1 A pair of female crab spiders. They usually perch on a yellow flower and their bodies adopt the strong tint of yellow as well. Silently, they await for unsuspecting bees or butterflies landing in search of nectar. It is not normal for 2 or more crab spiders to ambush in the same flower as it would reduce the chance of getting a catch. They were separated to different flowers after this shot.

Male Crab Spider#2 The male crab spider, reddish brown in colour and a lot smaller in size.

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_9089#3 A rare view of carnage. The female crab spider lands her claws on a bee, while the male captures a tiny fly for a romantic dinner together. I’ve heard that the male captures prey to offer to the female, this could be what’s happening, although the female already had a much larger meal!

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_1143#4 Just in case you’re wondering how a crab spider is identified, the most distinct characteristic lies in the length of the fore-legs. They are much longer than the hind legs, mimicking the claws of a crab. The flat body shape also resembles that of a crab.

Crab Spider (Camaricus maugi) - DSC_2916#5 Another type of crab spider, Camaricus maugi

Eight-Spotted Crab Spider (Platythomisus octomaculatus) - DSC_0026#6 One of the most sought after spiders in Singapore – the Eight Spotted Crab Spider (Platythomisus cf octomaculatus), listed as endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book.

Today’s capture started with some attempts at sunrise photography, and then to the Kranji Nature Trail. We didn’t stay for long as the mosquitoes were on steroid!!

Jacob shooting sunrise - DSC_7383b#7 Not much of a sunrise, so I took pictures of my friend taking the real serious sunrise photos. Seems like a really busy shoot! lol

Moving on to the mating shots I captured today. ūüôā

Crab Spiders (Thomisidae) - DSC_7409#8 By now, you should be able to tell that this is a pair of females, and they are NOT mating! ūüėõ

Crab Spiders (Thomisidae) - DSC_7417#9 Interesting shot with 2 females in a face to face “confrontation” and the male seemingly acting like a mediator. Classic love triangle. haha.

Crab Spiders (Thomisidae) - DSC_7430#10 The male crab spider has chosen it’s mate, much to the angst of the rejected female below. The male crab spider is actually weaving strands of silk around the female’s legs to stop her from moving as he prepares for his “insertion”.

Crab Spiders mating (Thomisidae) - DSC_7452#11 This is the actual mating shot. The male moves to a very precarious position underneath the female’s abdomen where her genital (epigyne) lies. There, the male crab spider inserts his pedipalp into the epigyne… success at last!

Crab Spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_7463#12 YESH!!! LAID!

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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