On Jan 8, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:
The northern crab spider (Misumenops asperatus) is one of the "flower spiders" (named as such because they usually hunt in similarly-colored flowers for visitors such as bees and flies). Although it is called northen crab spider, it does make its home in Texas as well as other southern states. It is similar to its relative the goldenrod spider (Misumena vatia); however, it is smaller. Its has striped legs. In contrast to its larger relatives whose background color of the abdomen may be white but are more often yellow, its abdominal background color is often whitish or even a pale greenish color; however, its coloring may vary. It has two longitudinal stripes behind the eyes on the carapace. The body is not as hairy as most spiders' bodies are. The top surfaces of the abdomen, carapace, and legs are covered with many spiny hairs and haave greenish-yellow or yellow-brown markings which are similar to those of the ridge-faced crab spider. M. celer markings closely resemble these as well, though its overall coloration often has a light tan-pink cast.
It does not weave a web so it is a hunter-ambusher and is usually found in plant terminals. It is rather slow moving and is usually sedentary as it awaits its prey. It feeds on a wide range of prey including red spider mites, aphids, flies, bees, wasps, pine tree damaging moths, honeybees, fruit tree leafrollers, the first two larval stages of the boll worm and other small insects that tend to be attracted to flowering plants. Hunting spiders are more successful at capturing small moths than are web-spinning spiders. The moth scales provide a means of escape from the web; however, this defense does not save them from ambushing crab spiders.