crab spider


: any of a family (Thomisidae) of spiders that resemble crabs in shape and in being able to walk forward, backward, and sideways see also giant crab spider

Examples of crab spider in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some types of crab spiders and the giant swallowtail caterpillar also sport white spots and are thought to be emulating the pasty-white urea component of bird excrement. Elizabeth Anne Brown, Scientific American, 13 Dec. 2023 Certain spider species called crab spiders perch on flowers to catch pollinating insects, including bees. Lars Chittka, Scientific American, 14 June 2023 Due to its flattened stance, it is also sometimes known as the six-eyed crab spider. Tim MacWelch, Outdoor Life, 3 May 2023 Surprisingly a flower with a crab spider is more attractive than one without: the crab spider mimics UV-reflective floral patterns that guide insects to nectar. James Gilbert, Discover Magazine, 27 Jan. 2015 To learn about how bumblebees handle this threat, the scientists used an artificial crab spider—that is, a pinching device made of foam. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2014 The goldenrod crab spider of Canada uses its silk-spinning abilities not to spin a web but to restrain the female during mating. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 On the other hand, encounters with a predator like a mantis or a crab spider are far graver perils. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 11 Feb. 2010 The spider is a goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia). oregonlive, 3 July 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crab spider.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crab spider was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near crab spider

Cite this Entry

“Crab spider.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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