April 2022 Spider of the Month

The spider of the month (SOTM) is this black-spotted camaricus crab spider (Camaricus nigrotesselatus; Thomisidae), taken by Desiré Pelser in Kloof, KZN. They are also called ladybird crab spiders, or, as I sometimes call them, Deadpool crab spiders. There are no suggested common names on iNaturalist yet, but I suppose they could also be called “painted crab spiders” due to a few people thinking that it’s a painted ornament instead of a real spider. However, there are a few crab spiders that look painted, like many Platythomisus spp.

There are 15 recorded species in the world, found in Africa, Indonesia, India, China and the Philippines. Only C. nigrotesselatus is officially recorded in South Africa, but C. mimus has apparently also been spotted. C. nigrotesselatus is quite widespread in South Africa, and can be found in eight provinces, mostly in the south, east, and north of the country.

Regarding this photo, Desiré had this to say: “What a surprise to find this beautiful spotted camaricus crab spider (Camaricus nigrotesselatus) in my garden in Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal! I haven’t seen this species in my area for at least 3-4 years, so finding one again was very exciting. This one was slowly, carefully exploring a twig on an old tree and her brilliant colours were hard to miss! What a gorgeous creature! For those interested in macro photography, I shot this image on an Olympus EM1 mkii and M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 macro lens and exposed for a diffused flash (which resulted in the black background). She let me get a few shots before moving on…”