Scientists Document Rare Color Changing Spider for the First Time

Just when you thought you knew every kind of color changing critter that existed nature keeps finding ways to surprise you. Most of us are more than familiar with the color changing abilities of certain animals like the chameleon and octopus. But did you know that certain spiders can also use adaptable camouflage to change their colors as well? Well, now you do!

Scientists have officially documented the color changing abilities of the whitebanded crab spider for the first time. It is one of the few arachnid species that can reversibly change the color of their bodies to match the colors of the flowers where they hang out and stalk their prey. In fact, these sneaky spiders are so good at using adaptable camouflage that once they change colors they can largely remain unseen.

Researchers were able to study this color changing ability by using photoshop editing software to record and measure the exact color changing process. Unlike other color changing animals that usually have a number of colors they can shift between, the whitebanded crab spider usually only shifts between two main colors white, and yellow. Researchers also noted that while it’s easy for white whitebanded crab spiders to change to yellow, it is harder for them to change from yellow to white.

Ironically, this ability to change colors on a whim is something that only occurs in the female whitebanded crab spider as the smaller crab spider males are unable to change color. Spider scientists believe that the reason for this difference between the genders assists in keeping the females safe from predators, and makes them better hunters so that they can produce healthy egg sacs that will ensure that the next generation of whitebanded crab spiders will survive.

As this color changing phenomenon is still a relatively new discovery there’s still much to learn about the whitebanded crab spider. It will be interesting to see if future studies of these color changing arachnids put more precise color measuring instruments to the test.

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