Come In for a Hug (Crab Spider, Thomisidae)

white crab spider with red stripes waits with spread forelegs on white-petaled yellow-centered flower.

A crab spider (Thomisidae, *probably* goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia) lies in wait for prey.

“Short” week for many, but we could all use a hug by now, right? Okay, maybe not this kind of a hug.

On another note, I was staring into the yellow sun of the flower thinking what it must be like for, say a bee, coming in hot for a landing, looking for some good eats then—WHAM! Jerk. And that’s it. But my eyes kept catching on those red stripes: how does that help a mini-predator like a spider ambush its prey? My short semi-educated guess of an answer is that it probably doesn’t; but it doesn’t hurt the ambush either. Without really looking anything up, I’m assuming (at all of our peril) that bees and other insects have vision that doesn’t pick up the red marks. They are present more for other creatures — like say people! (or more likely birds) — that might try to have lunch on the spider’s dime (so to speak). Red markings often signal danger or distastefulness. Of course, sometimes they lie.

(And just to be explicit, this isn’t a dangerous spider at all. Fear not. We’re all good.)


6 thoughts on “Come In for a Hug (Crab Spider, Thomisidae)

  1. I really do not like spiders but crab spiders might be an exception. Even though they camouflage themselves and wait in hiding to jump on their prey, they don’t seem to bother me as much as others. When I first saw the picture (a really nice capture) I too was wondering about the red marks since they generally take on the coloring of their environment as he has with the white similar to the petals. But why the red? Your guess as a warning to predators makes a lot of sense.

    1. You haven’t been seduced by the goggly eyes of jumping spiders? The peacock jumping spiders may be your best bet for spiders becoming more endearing. Unfortunately they only live in Australia.
      I didn’t realize you weren’t fond of disliked spiders, which gives me greater appreciation for you coming around here on a regular basis. Between enduring my spider photos and sort of liking crab spiders, you may just have an inner arachnophile waiting to get out. Or maybe not.🙂

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