San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Adult female Misumenoides formosipes, copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female

Misumenoides formosipes
Red Banded Crab Spider



Female Red Banded Crab Spiders are distinctly longer than males; females measure 5-11.3mm and males measure 2.5-3.2mm. The female's color pattern is variable; the body is white to yellowish in color. The carapace has wide lateral bands and there are paired markings are on the abdomen; the bands and markings are black to reddish in color. The abdominal markings may be pale and indistinct. The legs have reddish bands. The color pattern for males is similar to the female's but generally with red or brown legs.

Adult female Misumenoides formosipes face, copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female face
Range and Habitat

These spiders occur across the United States and south into Baja California. In San Diego County, they can be found in almost any habitat from the desert to the coast.

Natural History

Red Banded Crab Spiders are often found on flowers where they wait to ambush insect prey. Insects are embraced slowly by the long front legs. When the embrace is complete the death bite is delivered.

Related and Similar Species

There are 24 other species in this family in San Diego County. Misumenops species, which range from yellow to greenish in color, and Xysticus species, which tend to be brown, have more hairs on the body and legs as compared to the Misumeniodes which are virtually hairless. There are also microscopic differences as well in eye patterns. This is the only Misumenoides species in San Diego County.


Dondale, C.D. and J.H. Redner. 1978. The crab spiders of Canada and Alaska (Araneae: Philodromidae and Thomisidae). In: The Insects and Arachnids of Canada, part 5. Can. Dept. Agr. Pub. No. 1663. 225pp.

Schick, R.X. 1965. The crab spiders of California (Araneae, Thomisidae). Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 129(1):1-180.

Text by Jim Berrian. Photo © Jim Berrian.

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