Crab Spider Under Bark

2016 August 3

This is the second specimen I photographed on November 8, 2015. Basically, I noticed that I had very few photographs for November-January, and wanted to run up the numbers a bit. So anyway, here is a crab spider that was hiding under the bark of a dead pine tree:


It wasn’t completely inactive, but it was clearly hunkered down for the winter and ready to hibernate once it got cold. With the amount of snow that we get, the things buried under the snow are so well insulated that they don’t freeze hard (and sometimes don’t freeze at all), so this spider was probably going to be OK with just a bit of antifreeze and some patience.


It looks similar to the Bark Crab Spider (probably genus Bassaniana) that I photographed in May of 2015, except that one was a mature male and this one is more likely a not-quite-mature female. The environment is right, too, given that this genus pretty much inhabits tree bark, and has very good camouflage for that specific environment. Given that the other one was an adult in early Spring, it is clear that they overwinter nearly grown and then mate and lay eggs sometime in May or June.

5 Responses
  1. August 3, 2016

    I never thought of snow as an insulator. Is it the trapped air that makes it so?

  2. August 3, 2016

    Yes. Unpacked snow is very fluffy, and is actually a lot like styrofoam as an insulation, as long as you don’t directly touch it with something above the melting point of water. Even though it routinely gets down to well below zero Fahrenheit around here, the heavy snow cover makes it so that the soil never quite freezes (but in places where the snow is removed, like roads, the ground freezes to as much as three feet deep).

    So if you find yourself freezing to death in the snow, piling up the snow and tunneling into it is actually a pretty good idea.

  3. August 4, 2016

    You saw this on Nov 8, 2016? You have the power of time travelling to the US election date, and you’re writing about a spider?

  4. August 4, 2016

    Tim: Woops. Thanks for catching that, I’ve corrected it.

    (He’s on to me! Quick, hide the time machine!)

  5. August 5, 2016

    I had a time machine once and had to hide it. Not thinking, I sent it into the future without me. I’ve still got 23 years, 8 months and 14 days to wait before I get it back.


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