Posted in Bugs

Ambush Predator in a Flower

This crab spider is waiting for his food to come to him. Because I’ve put my macro lens a bit too close to his face, he is expressing some alarm by stretching out his arms.

Yesterday I was exploring Knox Woods State Nature Preserve when I encountered the little creature pictured above. To be honest, I didn’t even know I had encountered him at first. I was on my way out of the woods because the sun was setting. On a whim I casually took a quick photo of a trillium just because it was adjacent to the trail. I hadn’t been looking at any of my shots after taking them since I was trying to conserve my battery power, but on another whim I looked at this one anyway.

Before noticing him, he seemed a lot more relaxed… although this photo’s a bit blurry.

As soon as I saw the photo on my camera’s LCD, I was like “Whoa… is that what I think it is?” and I found myself walking back to take another look at the flower.

Now that I’m actually looking at him, I’ve made him a little tense.

This little spider is a crab spider. Crab spider’s don’t make webs. Instead they lay in wait on flowers hoping to ambush another insect who has come to dine on the flower’s pollen or nectar.

Some species of crab spiders can gradually change color, so they blend in with their flower. I don’t know whether this little guy is capable of such feats of camouflage. However he did a good job of hiding his reddish abdomen under the flower’s reproductive parts. And his arms did resemble a flower’s stamen, so all in all I was impressed… not to mention that I had photographed him without even noticing him.

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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

5 thoughts on “Ambush Predator in a Flower

  1. Great photo. I love how you can see the spider’s eyes. I didn’t know about the crab spider but I can see were it gets it’s name when you look at the legs on it!

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