Xysticus audax, females

Xysticus is a genus of spiders from the family of crab spiders ( Thomisidae ). The species-rich genus is distributed almost worldwide and represented in Central Europe with about 26 species.


The species of the genus Xysticus are usually small to medium in size. The females of the Central European species reach a maximum of 10 mm body length, the males are about half the size with a body length of about 3-5 mm. The Central European species are colored consistently unremarkable, the base color is usually brown or gray tones. The compared to the rear body ( opisthosoma ) usually only slightly smaller front body ( prosoma ) shows in many species in the middle of a wide, light longitudinal band, showing a front wide and back tapering, ie approximately V-shaped, dark contrasting stain. The opisthosoma is significantly flattened and shows in most species a wide interrupted in the middle, dark leafy drawing, which is often inside multiple strongly emarginate.

The types of central Europe are often very similar to each other; the safe provision is therefore possible in most cases only by microscopic examination of the genital organs ( genitalmorphologisch ).

Distribution and species

The genus Xysticus is distributed almost worldwide, it is absent only in South America. Of the approximately 360 currently described species of the genus are about 71 before in Europe, of which about 26 in Central Europe. But it also in Europe through detailed investigations are still new species discovered so far, the other species have been assigned, including Xysticus pseudocristatus Azarkina & Logunov 2001 Xysticus brevidentatus Wunderlich 1995, of which the female was not described until 2003.

Central European types are for instance:

  • Xysticus audax
  • Brown crab spider ( Xysticus cristatus)
  • Xysticus kochi
  • Xysticus lanio
  • Xysticus ninnii
  • Xysticus ulmi

Way of life

The genus Xysticus builds like all crab spiders no nets. The animals to be lurking predators usually in vegetation on sheets on; the prey is seized with the enlarged first two pairs of legs and killed by a bite.