July 2021 Spider of the Month

Our July 2021 spider of the month is this beetle crab spider (Mystaria sp.; Thomisidae), taken by Bruce Blake in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal.

These crab spiders mostly prey on bees and wasps. They will often drop down on a thread of silk above their unsuspecting prey, and usually bite the bee or wasp behind the head. They are small spiders (female about 3-5 mm, male 2-3 mm), so it’s quite a feat to tackle prey so much larger than they are.

These spiders, 15 species in total, occur only in Africa, with 9 recorded species found in South Africa.

Congratulations, Bruce, on your third SOTM win (second one this year)!