Sunday, March 20, 2011

Circle of Life

When most people think about spiders they think of webs, but there are actually quite a few spiders that hunt for prey with out the use of a web. The goldenrod crab spider, for instance, catches its prey by waiting on a flower and ambushing nectar eating insects as they come to feed. The goldenrod crab spider has the ability to change its color from white to yellow to light green so that it can match the color and blend in to the flower from which it is hunting from.
Despite the fact that it is on a purple thistle flower, they can not turn purple so she had no camouflage, this goldenrod crab spider was able to catch this European skipper with her long crab-like, front legs. Once its in her grip then she grabs a hold of the prey with her powerful jaws, leaving her legs free. You can tell that this is a female because of her size. Even though she is smaller then this small European skipper the male goldenrod crab spider is one half to one third as large. I took these photographs up at Voyager National Park last summer.
-

8 comments:

lotusleaf said...

I see these small white spiders on many of my flowers, waiting. I used to wonder where their webs were. Thanks for the interesting info.

Teresa said...

What an amazing capture! I love the clarity.

Bom said...

I wonder whose capture is better. The spider's capture of her prey or your capture of the shot. I enjoyed this post. Images and information. Thanks.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Great photo, if a little sad. Many flowers and many of those crab spiders reflect UV light and so the spider may not be as obvious to the butterfly as it is to us.

Jama said...

What an amazing catch for you!

Chuchie | Chie Wilks said...

that's a good looking spider. great shots and thanks for sharing info about spiders

please visit my flower

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

That's a new type of spider to me - I've never seen one!

I do know that we do have spiders here which don't spin webs. We have wolf spiders, which rely on a short burst of speed, and we do have crab spiders, so I'm sure they do ambush their prey in just the same way as your Goldenrod crab spider!

ladyfi said...

Wow - what amazing shots! And a bit gruesome...