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|Camouflaged by homochromy with an anthemis flower|
T. o. meridionalis Strand, 1907
This species shows sexual dimorphism both in size and coloration. The adult males reach a body length of only 2–4 millimetres (0.079–0.157 in), while females are 6–7 millimetres (0.24–0.28 in) long. In males, the basic colour of the prosoma varies from yellow brown to dark brown, the opisthosoma may be yellow and green or brown. Females are very variable in colour, their basic colour can be white, yellow pale brown or pink, sometimes with additional shades of red. This species is characterized by the prominent rear corners of the opisthosoma.
Like other species of the family Thomisidae these crab spiders do not make a web, but wait in ambush for their prey on flowers. The spiders are disguised by assuming the same colour as the flower, fooling both insect and bird predators. The prey consists of flower-visiting insects of all species, such as hover flies, bees, wasps, butterflies or beetles, which are often several times larger than the spider. They take their prey with two powerful and highly enlarged front leg pairs and usually kill them by biting on the back of their neck. Emerging spiderlings of Thomisus onustus may feed on pollen or nectar when insect prey is lacking.
Mating takes place mainly in June. The male climbs onto the back of the female to copulate. Finally, the male leaves the female. The female during the entire mating is completely passive and does not show any aggressive behaviour.
Distribution and habitat
It has a Palearctic distribution, being found from Great Britain and Portugal in the west to Japan in the east. It is present in most countries of Europe, but is absent in Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and it has also been seen in Iraq. Its north–south distribution extends from Sweden to South Africa and from Siberia to Central Java, including temperate and tropical ecozones. These spiders prefer warm temperatures, forest-free areas, dry and sandy habitats with high solar radiation and dry grasslands.
- "Taxon details Thomisus onustus Walckenaer, 1805", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2017-06-29
- "Taxon details Thomisus onustus meridionalis Strand, 1907", World Spider Catalog, Natural History Museum Bern, retrieved 2017-06-29
- Levy, Gershom (1970), "The life cycle of Thomisus onustus (Thomisidae: Araneae) and outlines for the classification of the life histories of spiders", Journal of Zoology, 160 (4): 523–536, doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1970.tb03095.x
- Théry, Marc & Casas, Jérôme (2002), "Predator and prey views of spider camouflage", Nature, 415: 133, doi:10.1038/415133a, archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-06-29, retrieved 2017-06-29
- Vogelie, A. & Greissl, R. (1989), "Survival strategies of the crab spider Thomisus onustus Walckenaer 1806 (Chelicerata, Arachnida, Thomisidae)", Oecologia, 80 (4): 513–515, doi:10.1007/bf00380075
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