White Death Crab Spider (Misumena Vatia)

I found a broken nest of spiders yesterday in the most curious of states. It was built from mud and had since dried up to utter fragility and all of the spiders inside were dead. I took a small knife to the crumbling dirt holes of the nest and opened it to expose what was around 12-15 necrotized specimens, of 4 different species. All were of the genus crab spiders to my knowledge, with odd coloration differences. For what reasons they all were in the same habitat and nest was beyond me.

One of them I was able to identify and was most plentiful of them all, called a White Death Spider which is a pure white spider, 9mm in body length and approx 18mm in width. They hunt by ambushing their prey and subdue by a venonmous bite. The

spider then holds its kill and sucks it dry. The main diet comprises of flies, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers and bees.  They also change color to yellow depending on which flower they are hunting on. It is believed to be at will. A picture of the supreme camouflage skills of the yellow breed is here.

This specialized anthropod can alter their color by secreting a liquid yellow pigment to their bodies surface cell layer. On a white background, they transported it lower below, so that inner glands appear white. A lot of them are found with missing legs from near death experiences with birds or mate fighting.

I thought the white spiders would have a bio-luminscent exoskeleton, but alas, did not.

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