Crab spiders are small, (about 5mm) white, yellowy or gray and have crablike legs. They blend in with the environment they choose to patrol. They are not insects but arachnids.
Crab Spider-Ed Nieuwenhuys (left), Crab Spider-University of Minnesota (right)
All spiders are beneficial even though most will bite you. They walk like a crab and can move very fast in an ambush. They have very good eyesight and can quickly hide under leaves if they see predators. These spiders are not web weavers but rely on ambush. Crab spiders are recognized by their 4 front legs that are very long and 4 back legs a bit shorter.
Photos Ed Nieuwenhuys
Habitat and Lifecycle
There are hundreds of different species found worldwide. The mother makes a huge cocoon in which to lay her eggs and then transports it to high flowers and then guards the sac till hatching. During this time she does not feed but instead chases away attackers. After 5-6 weeks she pokes a hole in the cocoon so her babies can emerge. After this she dies of starvation and the babies begin feeding on her carcass. Crab spiders will remain in the same area for weeks if their food doesn’t run out.
Egg Sac-unknown photographer
Crab spiders eat any insect that crosses it’s path. This includes other spiders, flies, bees, mosquitoes, butterflies, caterpillars, ants etc. They are usually found on your flowers, stems, leaves and other ornamentals.