Thomisus onustus

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Thomisus onustus
Thomisus onustus hunting in southern France 2013.jpg
Camouflaged by homochromy with an anthemis flower
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Araneomorphae
Family: Thomisidae
Genus: Thomisus
T. onustus
Binomial name
Thomisus onustus
Walckenaer, 1805 [1]

T. o. meridionalisStrand, 1907 [2]

Thomisus onustus is a crab spider species in the genus Thomisus belonging to the family Thomisidae.

<i>Thomisus</i> genus of arachnids

Thomisus is a genus of crab spiders with almost 150 species described. The genus includes species that vary widely in their ecology, but the best known crab spiders are those species that people call the flower crab spiders, because they are ambush predators that feed on insects visiting flowers. The flower crab spiders are the species for which the popular name was coined, because of their crab-like motion and their way of holding their front legs in an attitude reminiscent of a crab spreading its claws as a threat.

Thomisidae family of arachnids

The Thomisidae are a family of spiders, including about 175 genera and over 2,100 species. The common name crab spider is often linked to species in this family, but is also applied loosely to many other families of spiders. Many members of this family are also known as flower spiders or flower crab spiders.



Purple camouflage. Thomisidae - Thomisus onustus.JPG
Purple camouflage.

This species shows sexual dimorphism both in size and coloration. The adult males reach a body length of only 2–4 millimetres (0.079–0.157 in), while females are 6–7 millimetres (0.24–0.28 in) long. In males, the basic colour of the prosoma varies from yellow brown to dark brown, the opisthosoma may be yellow and green or brown. Females are very variable in colour, their basic colour can be white, yellow pale brown or pink, sometimes with additional shades of red. This species is characterized by the prominent rear corners of the opisthosoma.

Opisthosoma Wikimedia disambiguation page

The opisthosoma is the posterior part of the body in some arthropods, behind the prosoma (cephalothorax). It is a distinctive feature of the subphylum Chelicerata. Although it is similar in most respects to an abdomen, the opisthosoma is differentiated by its inclusion of the respiratory organs and the heart.


Like other species of the family Thomisidae these crab spiders do not make a web, but wait in ambush for their prey on flowers. The spiders are disguised by assuming the same colour as the flower, fooling both insect and bird predators. The prey consists of flower-visiting insects of all species, such as hover flies, bees, wasps, butterflies or beetles, which are often several times larger than the spider. They take their prey with two powerful and highly enlarged front leg pairs and usually kill them by biting on the back of their neck. Emerging spiderlings of Thomisus onustus may feed on pollen or nectar when insect prey is lacking.


Mating takes place mainly in June. The male climbs onto the back of the female to copulate. Finally, the male leaves the female. The female during the entire mating is completely passive and does not show any aggressive behaviour.

Distribution and habitat

It has a Palearctic distribution, being found from Great Britain and Portugal in the west to Japan in the east. [1] It is present in most countries of Europe, but is absent in Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and it has also been seen in Iraq.[ citation needed ] Its north–south distribution extends from Sweden to South Africa and from Siberia to Central Java, including temperate and tropical ecozones.[ citation needed ] These spiders prefer warm temperatures, forest-free areas, dry and sandy habitats with high solar radiation and dry grasslands.[ citation needed ]

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Taxon details Thomisus onustus Walckenaer, 1805", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2017-06-29
  2. "Taxon details Thomisus onustus meridionalis Strand, 1907", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2017-06-29
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