This week I found a tiny, drab brown crab spider in one of my son’s terrariums. It waited patiently on an inflorescence of grass. Though I did my best to identify it, even with multiple field guides it ain’t easy! It’s No. 2 leg isn’t longer than No. 1, which seems to rule out Philodromidae. So my best guess is Xysticus, one of the 26 different species of that genus found in California, Oregon and Washington. They’re very patient creatures, and just wait on a flower, like this grass flower, until an insect comes along to pollinate it. Some crab spiders are colorful — yellow or pink — and can even change their color like a chameleon to match a flower.

Crab spider crop

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