Sunday, February 12, 2012

Along Came a Spider

goldenrod crab spider with prey The goldenrod crab spider gets its name from its ability to change yellow. It uses this camouflage to hide on yellow goldenrod flowers and ambush butterflies, bees and other nectar eating insects that visit the flower looking for food. Since goldenrod is not always available it can also wait on other color plants, in this case thistle, in its white form.
goldenrod crab spider with prey Since this type of spider does not spin a web they must rely on their ambush ability. This spider has caught a skipper butterfly. The spider will grab its prey with its front legs and then inject it with its venom. Once the prey has become immobilized it will suck out all of the bodily fluids. This goldenrod crab is a female. You can tell the difference because males have a brown thorax with a white abdomen where the female is entirely one color, other then the red stripes. Females are also about three times larger which makes mating very dangerous for the males.

6 comments:

Kerri said...

I did not know that it changed color! I've seen it in the goldenrod as a yellow flower - and also as white - but didn't realize it was the same spider. How Cool!
Great captures!

Míriam Luiza said...

Que lindo! Não conhecia este inseto!

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Great macro photographs.

Regards and best wishes

Dina J said...

This is really cool.It seems the spider is so much smaller but still gets the butterfly. Nice detail!

Kala said...

Wonderful details in these macros.

Ida said...

Awesome photo's. I've never seen this type of a spider before. Fascinating.