Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Crabs among the Flowers
These lovely little spiders are among my favorites. Their coloration is not only beautiful but serves them well in the form of camouflage. They have the amazing ability to blend in with the flowers, usually hidden among the blooms, when unsuspecting insects come to dine on the nectar or pollen, they in turn become the dinner. The species on the purple flower is White-Banded Crab Spider. The smaller one pictured next to her is her male counterpart. As you can see they look entirely different from each other, with the male being much smaller and very different in coloration. The one on the yellow flower is a Flower Crab Spider. There is another species that is common in Missouri and that is the Ground Crab Spider, their cryptic colors allow them to blend in with the ground on which they live and hunt. Each species has adapted to their specific habitat and they exploit it to the fullest. They are capable of capturing, killing and consuming species many times larger than themselves, including butterflies, large moths and bees. The young hatch in the spring and are so tiny that they often go unnoticed, typically it is the larger adults that we notice in our flower gardens later in the summer. I want to thank Steve Scott for the use of the Ground Crab Spider image and the male White-Banded image. They are lovely.