January 2024 Spider of the Month

The Spider of the Month (SOTM) is this ant-eating crab spider (Stiphropus sp.; Thomisidae), found by Ruan Booysen in the Ndumo Game Reserve, and photographed by Rudi Steenkamp.
Ruan found the spider under the bark of a fever tree during their fieldwork to Ndumo and Tembe in northern KwaZulu-Natal. These spiders are ambushers, like most crab spiders, and are believed to feed mostly on ants.

There are 22 Stiphropus species in the world, with 11 occurring in Africa, and four species from South Africa.

There is really not much else I can say about these spiders, and I have no idea about the etymology of the name Stiphropus.

This was a very close contest between first and second place. From 205 people who voted, this photo received 99 votes, which is just three votes more than second place. This is Rudi’s fifth SOTM, but from a whopping 207 nominations since we started the SOTM in 2020. His last SOTM was in December 2022. Thank you to everyone who voted!