Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Crab Spiders

Continuing on the bug theme, the other day I was walking by some flowers and I noticed a fly (or wasp?) on one of them. As I got closer it seemed odd that it wasn't moving. Usually flies don't sit still for very long. Finally I realized the fly was dead and in the grasp of a crab spider. It was quite hard to see the spider since its color matched the flower and it was hidden inside the flower. Here was what I initially saw:

crab spider on flower

And the closeup view:

crab spider on flower

I checked out the nearby flowers and found another fly of the same kind, also in the grasp of a similar crab spider.

The funny part is that I've been looking for crab spiders on and off all summer. I've looked in the kinds of places where I've seen them before but haven't found any. And now two in one day in one place.

I went back to the same flowers the next day and found one of the crab spiders still lurking in wait. But without the distraction of a meal it was a bit more skittish and moved around the flower when I got too close with the camera lens.

crab spider on flower

Then a few minutes later when I went to look at another, totally different kind of flower, there was another crab spider. This one was on a white flower, and correspondingly was almost white. Crab spiders can change color to match their surroundings, a useful skill for an ambush predator.

crab spider on flower

Then when I got home and looked at my photos on the computer, I found crab spiders in two more of my flower photos! Have I been blind all summer or have they really just suddenly appeared everywhere?

This was just meant to be a photo of the backlit flower. Can you spot the crab spider?

spot the crab spider

See all 7 photos

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