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.


  1. Great shots. I had a few of these last year but A) could not get any good shots, and B) never identified the species because of A.

    They were always in the day lilies, which are not my favorite flowers to photograph (not native), either.

  2. They are difficult for sure, the one on the yellow flower(have no idea the species of the plant, but know it is native) was blurry and very hard to bring into focus, the little bugger wouldn't sit still. The white spider on the purple flower was in my backyard garden and her colors were so striking that I couldn't give up until I got a decent shot, which took a long long long time. I am quite sure she was disgusted with me before it was all over with as I moved her around and around until I could get one good picture.