Since my last post on an Ambush Predator in a Flower, I’ve started keeping an eye out for crab spiders when doing macro shots of wildflowers. Yesterday I not only photographed two more crab spiders, but I’ve captured the moment immediately after the spider has seized its prey.
The bottom photo is a little harder to make out, so let me describe what’s going in that one. The crab spider is to the left of the flower’s center. The small insect the spider is eating is identical to the one that’s still on the flower petal to the right. The tiny insect in the spider’s mouth almost looks like darker-than-normal stamen. Meanwhile I’m wondering why the insect on the flower petal is still hanging around.
In both cases, I was trying to photograph the crab spider while it was still on top of the flower. In both cases the spider rapidly darted to the side of the flower. I originally thought that my macro lens had scared the spider away. But in reality the spider had seized his prey, then moved off the flower to eat it. Even though I watched the whole thing, I really didn’t see what had happened. The prey had been captured in the blink of an eye.
Maybe crab spiders always move to the side of the flower to consume their prey. That way other insects might continue feeding from the flower while the spider’s eating. When the spider is done with one victim, his next victim is already in place.