13 June 2014

Crab Spider (Misumena vatia): 13 June 2014

Found a superb female Crab Spider Misumena vatia in the wet meadow at Brook Manor and spent some time watching and photographing it.

These spiders specialise in hunting pollinating insects that visit white coloured flowers. But rather than using their white colouration as camouflage to hide them from their prey, the spiders are actually more visible to insects than they are to humans, being clearly visible in ultraviolet. Many plants use ultraviolet markings to guide insects to nectar, so insects are possibly attracted to the ultraviolet colour of the spiders. The white colouraton of the spider that we can see is probably to hide them from predators.

Female Crab Spider Misumena vatia, Brook Manor, Devon, 13 June 2014

Crab Spiders do not spin webs but are ambush predators, grabbing and injecting venom into prey through their fangs

Crab Spiders are so called after their habit of holding the first pair of legs apart

Superbly camouflaged, females are very variable in colour and pattern and able to change their colour to match the colour of the flower
they are hunting from (usually white or yellow)

More information on this beautiful spider here. Also, compare this widespread British, European and North American species to the much meaner looking Brazilian Crab Spider Epicadus heterogaster I photographed at REGUA in 2013.

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