Xysticus Funestus – Deadly Ground Crab Spider

Even though Xysticus funestus has a dangerously-sounding common name, the deadly ground crab spider, it is of absolutely no concern for humans or pet animals. It is an orange colored crab spider that usually hunts for small insects on the forest soil. It can be found throughout North America.

Running crab spider description

The deadly ground crab spider is an orange spider with curved legs, giving it a crab-like appearance. Its abdomen and legs often have dark orange bumps. Another characteristic to identify crab spiders is the fact that their second pair of legs is larger than the third and fourth pair.

Xysticus funestus deadly ground crab spider
Can you see the darker bumps and the curved legs of this deadly ground crab spider? This great photo was sent to us by Jessica from Richmond, Virginia.


As most Xysticus spiders, the ground crab spider is a small spider. Females can reach a size of 0.4 inches (10 mm) of body length while males are only half their size.


As other crab spiders, the deadly ground crab spider is a hunter spider. It does not spin a web to catch prey. They mostly hunt on forest grounds, preferably in leaf litters. Especially in autumn, their body coloring is the perfect camouflage between orange colored leaf to hunt for small insects.


Despite its ferocious name, the deadly ground crab spider is harmless for humans. With its small fangs, it is mostly even impossible for them to pierce through humans skin. Furthermore, these crab spiders are shy and most likely to take off when they see any human approaching. In the rare cases where a bite occurs, it might at worst cause some pain and local swelling.

Xysticus funestus scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Thomisidae
  • Genus: Xysticus
  • Species: Xysticus funestus

Common names

Deadly ground crab spider or ground crab spider.

Distribution of the deadly ground crab spider in the USA

Xysticus funestus range United States

The ground crab spider can be found almost everywhere in the United States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Xysticus Funestus – Deadly Ground Crab Spider

2 thoughts on “Xysticus Funestus – Deadly Ground Crab Spider

  1. This was found outside on a basketball goal in SC. I’m thinking it’s some sort of crab spider?

    1. Hello Lynn, thanks for uploading this great shot! Yes, this is definitely some type of crab spider (Thomisiidae). Most likely of the genus Xysticus.

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