Oblong running spider (Tibellus oblongus)

The oblong running spider (Tibellus oblongus) is a species of spider in the family Philodromidae, commonly known as the running crab spiders. This species is known for its slender body and long legs, which make it well-adapted for quick movements and a predatory lifestyle.

Appearance

  • Size: The body length of Tibellus oblongus typically ranges from 6 to 10 millimeters.
  • Coloration: These spiders have a pale, sandy-brown to gray coloration, which helps them blend into their grassland habitats. They have a distinctive dark stripe running down the center of their body.
  • Body Shape: As their name suggests, they have an elongated, oblong body shape. Their long legs are adapted for running and are often held outstretched, making them appear even longer.

Habitat

  • Preferred Habitats: Tibellus oblongus is often found in grassy areas, including meadows, fields, and gardens. They are also found on low vegetation and shrubs.
  • Geographic Range: This species is widespread across Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. It is commonly found in temperate regions.

Behavior

  • Diet: The oblong running spider is a predator, feeding primarily on small insects and other arthropods. They rely on their speed and agility to capture prey.
  • Hunting Style: Unlike web-building spiders, Tibellus oblongus hunts actively. They use their excellent camouflage to ambush prey, remaining motionless until the prey is within reach.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in a silken sac, which they attach to vegetation. The female may guard the egg sac until the spiderlings hatch.

Interesting Facts

  • Camouflage: Their coloration and body shape provide excellent camouflage among grasses and leaves, making them difficult to spot by both predators and prey.
  • Speed: As their common name suggests, these spiders are fast runners. They can quickly chase down prey or escape from threats.
  • Distribution: The widespread distribution of Tibellus oblongus indicates their adaptability to various environments, from temperate grasslands to agricultural fields.

Identification Tips

  • Body Shape and Size: The elongated, oblong body and relatively long legs are key identifying features.
  • Coloration: Look for the pale sandy-brown or gray coloration with a distinctive dark stripe running down the center of the body.
  • Habitat: Observing the spider in grassy or low vegetation areas can also aid in identification.

Summary

The oblong running spider (Tibellus oblongus) is an agile and adaptive species found across various regions in Europe, North America, and Asia. Known for its elongated body and remarkable speed, this spider is an effective predator in grassland and meadow habitats. Its excellent camouflage and hunting prowess make it a fascinating species within the Philodromidae family.

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