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Green Crab Spider Diaea dorsata

This family of spiders is always split up in two subfamilies: the Crab Spiders (Thomisinae) and the Running Crab Spiders (Philodrominae). Scientists don't agree whether it is correct to distinguish two subfamilies or that there are two separate families all together. Still, most believe in just one family. By the scientific name it is always easy to tell families and subfamilies apart: the names of families always end in '-dae', while the name of a subfamily always ends in '-nae'.

The crabspiders are a group of very colourful spiders that live in flowers and stalk, or wait motionless for their prey. Their poison is very deadly to insects as it kills the vicim almost instantenously. Crabspiders have rather long legs and often walk sidewards, just like crabs do. They are smaller than the well known Garden Spider.

The Green Crab Spider in the picture is a male. It grows to a length of about 4 millimeters, the female is up to 6 millimeters. In this particular case the back side of the spiders body is very dark. Usually it is more or less yellowish with some brown markings. But colours do vary a lot. Like other Crab Spiders the Green Crab Spider is able to change the colours on the back side of his body. So another plant to hunt on could mean another colour. In this species changing the colour takes a long time: up to four days.