Belongs to: spiders

Crab spider Xysticus cristatus

Best time to see: late Mar to end Aug

Key facts

Crab spiders are crab-shaped, and also sometimes behave like crabs; they are ambush predators

This species sits both on vegetation such as flower heads and on the ground, waiting for prey to come within reach

Widespread across Britain and in western and central Europe


Female is buff-coloured with brown markings, up to 8mm in length

Male is smaller, up to 6mm, and darker in colour

Usually sit with forelegs spread wide, like crabs


The male grabs hold of the female by a leg, ties her down to the ground with threads of silk, then crawls under her to mate

After mating the female lays eggs and encloses them in a protective cocoon, and stands guard over them until they hatch

  • photo

© Tony Gunton