M.vatia resembles a crab, for its body is short, wide, and flattened. The first two pairs of legs are larger than the hind legs and held open -- the spider uses them to grab its prey. Females are 6 to 9 mm long, males are smaller: 3 to 4 mm. The female is light colored -- the carapace and legs are white or yellow with darker sides, and sometimes dark reddish markings on the abdomen. The male is darker over all: the carapace is a red to reddish brown with a white spot in the middle ascending to the eye area. The first and second legs are reddish brown, the third and fourth are yellow. The male also has a pair of dorsal and lateral parallel bands of red with a white background. The jaws of this spider are small and slender, and contain venom.
Identification of spiders requires detailed examination of their anatomy. M. vatia has two rows of eyes. The first row or the anterior row is equidistant and are slightly recurved. The second row is also equidistant, but is either more or less recurved. Also the front part of the median ocular area is narrower then behind. There are no teeth in the upper margin of furrow. The hair is simple and is either filiform or rod shaped and are erect. There are no spines on the first and second legs except under tibiae and metatarsi. The genus Misumena is identified within its subfamily Misumeninae by the shape and structure of the clypeus, the front of the cephalothorax (the front body section, where the eyes are).
Range length: 3.0 to 9.0 mm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry ; venomous
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
- Comstock, J. 1965. The Spider Book. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates.
- Kaston, B., E. Kaston. 1956. How To Know The Spiders. Dubuqe, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Company.
- Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 1997. "Crab Spider" (On-line). Accessed October 30, 2000 at http://encarta.msn.com.