Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Goldenrod Crab Spider Female
One of the new things that I have begun to photograph in the last couple of years are spiders. I find spiders extremely fascinating. Like other predators they are diverse in their prey and how they hunt. This affects the habitat where different species live. When most people think of spider they think of them spinning webs but there are many types of spiders that do very little spinning. The goldenrod crab spider is a good example of this.   
Goldenrod Crab Spider Male
 The goldenrod crab spider typically only spins webs during mating and egg laying. They hunt by ambushing their prey. The goldenrod crab has the ability to change its color between white and yellow. They change color to blend in to the flower that they are sitting on. This camouflage helps them to sneak up and ambush their prey. The prey typically consists of pollinating insects which the crab injects with venom and sucks out all of the body fluids, as in the first photo. They are often found in their yellow form on goldenrod flowers, because goldenrod attracts many insects.
Goldenrod Crab Spider Male
 Female goldenrod crab spiders (top) are all one color, either yellow or white, except for the two red stripes that run down their abdomen. Male goldenrod crabs (second and third photo) have a dark thorax. Their front two pair of legs are also dark. The abdomen and back legs look similar to those of the female. The big difference between the sexes is size. The female spider is at least three times larger then the male. This is true of many spider species. This last shot gives you a perspective of just how small the male goldenrod crab is.


Liz said...

Great captures!

My entry is here.

Rambling Woods said...

I too have become interested in spiders after learning to lose my fear of them. I will have to look for these or something similar next season ... great post Jeff..thank you for adding it to Nature Notes.. Michelle

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I do not love Spiders, I do not even like Spiders, and yet, I do find them fascinating and also fun to photograph. You took some really very nice images!

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