That’s Not Fair

yellow crab spider blending in almost seamlessly with yellow petals of flower

With cryptic coloring like this, it is no wonder that these crab spiders are very formidable predators.

Well, it’s tough enough being a bee or fly, but invisible spiders? Not exactly, but practically speaking, that’s what this crab spider is. (Tentative ID is a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia.) It actually had a syrphid fly in its clutches when I first saw it but dropped it onto the petals of the flower. The spider itself did not move from its position, so hopefully it was just done with its meal and not too bothered by the camera.

Because the spider was inside the flower, it created some uneven lighting with my flash. This is a typical problem and sometimes it can be alleviated in post-processing better than others. For this shot the left side was much brighter. Longstoryshort, I created two duplicate layers; masked out alternating halves of each layer; and adjust the levels of each half independently and accordingly. It’s probably one of those things a photographer could make endless tweaks on and never quite be fully satisfied, but I like this result.

Another challenge here that is probably exacerbated by the flash, is getting the colors correct. In this case I think the yellow of the crab spider and the yellow of the petals was rendered more similarly than it was, but I didn’t mess with it too much because I think it represents the subject well.

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5 thoughts on “That’s Not Fair

  1. I’ve only see white crab spiders, many times with one of my bees in it’s clutches. This yellow one on a yellow flower is definitely unfair…but everything must eat, I suppose. Great work on the photo.

    1. Thanks, Pat. The yellow and the white are just variations in this species, I believe. I usually see more white ones than yellow. They have developed a very successful strategy which I tip my hat to thim, but it is hard to watch. Saw a bumblebee once, going flower to flower…and there was a crab spider like this one (only white on a purple flower) waiting. Talk about watching an entomological train wreck.

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