Spiders! (Not scary – just cool)

Male crab (flower) spider

Female crab spider - 10 times the size of the male!

So, I found some spiders on a flower; the little one was on the big one. It could have been a baby, but then again could be a male –  in the wacky world of invertebrates, the females often have to be large to manufacture the eggs. These guys sit on flowers and wait for pollinators to catch. A couple of days previously, I found one of these with a honey bee. I sent the pics to my favorite spider experts at http://www.spideridentification.org. As usual I got an immediate i.d. and life history info:

Hi, GopherValley!

Happy to see you back! Both of these pretty crab spiders are Misumena vatia, commonly referred to as “flower crab spiders”. The larger one is the female and the smaller, more colorful one is the male. Looks like you caught them in the middle of copulating! Here’s a similar photo: http://bugguide.net/node/view/411106/bgimage.

This species is really neat and has the ability to change colors from white to yellow based on what kind of flower they’re perched on. The change takes about a week, though. Some of them have pretty red or green stripes and some are all one color. They don’t make webs. Instead, they catch their insect prey by waiting in flowers for insects to land or fly by and then they grab them with their strong front legs. That’s why you’ll normally see this kind of spider sitting with it’s legs spread wide. These, of course, are not dangerously venomous to humans or pets.

Here are more images of this species, as well (if you’d like to see): http://bugguide.net/node/view/6751/bgimage.

Hope this was helpful! Let us know if you have any questions.


–>Lady Arachnophile

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