Thomisids are very common on plants and play an important role in the natural control of pests in Africa. They are found on grass, shrubs, flowers and trees and is frequently encountered on crops. They are known to prey on citrus psylla, citrus mite, crimson spider mite, common spider mite, aphids, thrips, beetles, bees, locusts, termites and ants.
The Thomisidae are free living spiders and tend to lay in ambush waiting for prey to come close enough to be caught. Surveys undertaken have shown that they are one of the dominant groups in crops.
A total of 13
species were collected from macadamia and avocado orchards in South Africa with
Oxytate argenteooculata Simon the dominant species followed by
Misumenops rubrodecorata Millot. Feeding experiments in the laboratory
showed that M. rubrodecorata prey on aphids, red spider mites and
thrips. Nothing is known about the prey spectrum of O.
Misumenops rubrodecoratus is one of the most abundant
species found on crops. They are found on all parts of the plant, but are not
very common from the ground-layer. In the laboratory at ARC-PPRI it was found
that they prey on a wide range of prey including red spider mites, the first two
larval stages of the boll worm Helicoverpa armigera as well as aphids
and fruit flies.