You may recall this white crab spider, also known as the flower crab spider, from Square Perspectives. It’s scientific name is Misumena vatia, and it is one of 6 species of crab spider to be found in the UK. This one though is generally only seen in southern England and Wales.
Unlike many spiders they don’t webs, instead they rely on ambush. They wait in the foliage or on a flower itself for unsuspecting bees, flies, and moths.
The females can change colour, which led me to presume that the one that has taken up residence on our patio was male. It stands out in all its glory against the pink cosmos and on the stems, however this spider is obviously a lot larger than 4mm. Its size therefore suggests it is in fact the female of the species. Females are twice the size of the males, and this one looks at least 10mm.
Apparently however it can take weeks for the female to complete their background-matching colour changes and this one has been trying out my white cosmos too! So maybe her colour change is taking longer. If you look really closely though at the pictures below, you can just see a hint of pink appearing on the body.
I have still to capture the moment when she captured her prey, but as you will have seen from the gallery I have arrived within moments of a successful ambush. Unfortunately though I have learnt she is easily alarmed, and on one occasion (pictured below) when I was attempting to photograph the moment of her eating she dragged her meal under the flower away from me. Guess I cannot blame her, no one wants a lens in their face when they are sucking their supper. Yes you did read that correctly they suck their food. You can learn more about their eating habits here.
She disappeared after the recent storms and so I thought we had lost her. However last week I spotted something on the didiscus ‘blue lace’. And yay she is back. Or is it her? She seems to have shrunk, so maybe this one is a male? I wonder if the Six Word Saturday gang can advise?