Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crabby as a spider

I apologize for being so lax in getting stuff posted here lately. My life seems to be in overdrive at the moment. My husband had a bout with Salmonella and ended up in the hospital with severe dehydration and nearly died. My son bought his first house and moved out which required our help and messed my own house up from top to bottom. My daughter got a DWI after leaving a friends wedding. Once we got all that stuff resolved, she went to a concert and got an M.I.P. So I am back to being mom-taxi and trying to get her back and forth to college, plus trying to do my own job. Then to top it all off this past Saturday Joey and I were in a bad car accident on the highway. Thankfully no body was seriously injured, but I sustained some severe bruising to my sternum which hurts every time I move. The past 6 weeks have been chaos to say the least. I am looking forward to some much needed calmness in my life. All this drama is enough to make a person crabby.
I guess the old saying holds true "When it pours!"

When trying to decide what to write about in this post I kept coming back to one of my favorite creatures in the garden and that is the crab spider. The name sure fits my mood lately! These spiders helped me overcome my arachnophobia and cured my life long fear of eight-legged creatures. These are small, unassuming, almost comical spiders that rest on flower blooms waiting to ambush unsuspecting insects. Like most spiders their life begins in the spring after emerging from the egg sac their mother so lovingly formed the previous fall. They will be impossibly tiny and often go unnoticed among the flowers for many weeks. As they eat and grow we begin to spot their curious-looking little bodies sitting motionless among the foliage and flowers as if they have all day to just hang around.

(A juvenile crab spider hidden inside a red tulip--photo taken in April)

There are many different species of crab spiders, but the majority of the ones you will find in Missouri will be flower crab spiders. They get their common name from their preference for hanging out in flower blossoms. This is a perfect adaptation...what better place to hang out when seeking your food of choice....insects? We all know insects are attracted to flowers, so these guys go where the source is and wait for a passing meal to come. They won't have to wait long, and with such a ready supply of food they grow quickly and generally reach adult size by the first of August.

They  aren't picky about their diet, any six or eight legged creature will do. 

As the following pictures will show.

(Crab spider eating a fly)

(This tiny crab spider caught and devoured this much larger flower fly)
(Flies must be tasty)

(Here a crab spider found a tawny-edged skipper to her liking)

(Feeding on a Silver-Spotted Skipper)

 (This one is dining on a red Admiral Butterfly, talk about eyes bigger than your belly...geesh!)

Crab spiders are amazing in other ways too, many of them can change color to blend in with their surroundings, this is using camouflage to the utmost advantage. If you are white and sitting on a white flower you will most likely go unnoticed.....or lets say you're sitting on a pink and white flower....why not add a little pink to the disguise?

Yellow Flower?

These spiders even entertain themselves when they are not out searching for food or mates....How about a rousing game of piggy-back ride?....or is it leap-frog?

Many crab Spiders participate in Olympic pole vaulting...just look at this form and grace!

Crab spiders are expert hunters, and often capture and consume prey much larger than themselves. They are not known to bite and are excellent spiders to handle. They come in a wide array of colors from brown to pink and white. I am constantly on the look out for these spiders among the flowers. This time of year they are most noticeable because they have attained their full adult size and will usually be seen with some sort of prey protruding from their front fangs.


  1. Sorry to hear your life has been bumpy. It sounds like it is turning round.I love finding these spiders. I have to be careful posting pics, I found a number of people who are afraid of even the pictures. Guess I could be mean and remind them how many we might ingest each year.

  2. uh, WOW.

    Through adversity, you still post this amazing stuff.

    I hope, at least, cruising through your STUNNING photographic catalog soothed your soul.

    So, I LOVED this post, LOVE crab spiders, and am a FREAK for red and visible pollen grains, so THANK YOU for what you do. =) xoxoxo

  3. Steve that you for the kind comment and also thank you for the email with beautiful images, loved it! I think life is finally calming down, of course I don't want to say that too loud! Some people do have a phobia so deep that images will trigger a reaction out of them

  4. LOL Bio.....thank you. I've spent a lot of time outside lately in my "happy place." I'm so happy that you enjoyed this post, crab spiders are such darling little creatures and they have been so plentiful lately I couldn't resist sharing some of the pics I've managed to take. Your kind words brought a smile to my face, and I thank YOU for that!

  5. Hi.
    The embrace is also my garden spider.
    Beautiful creatures!
    regards :Bandi