Monday, September 28, 2009

Crab Spider Kill and a Bee with Ears

White-banded Crab Spider (Misumenoides formosipes)
September 23, 2009

This crab spider caught one of my honey bees last week--I came back out several times to see her in the same position, perhaps sucking fluids from the body. This spider has the ability to change colors over several days to match the flowers where its sits waiting for prey (rather than spinning a web).

Why yellow when the phlox is purple? (Note: my garden phlox blooms late because the deer eat it early in the summer) I assume the spider was trying to fool the bee thinking it's a big source of yellow pollen--as the anthers on the other blossoms have.

Crab Spider with eggs rolled in petal
September 24, 2009

The next day, I went out to see the bee gone and the crab spider had rolled two petals to protect her eggs which she deposited. She won't eat while she protect the eggs which will hatch in about 3 weeks.

Today, I went out to check and could not find the spider or her rolled nest nor any flowers on the plant. The flowers probably fell during our deluge of rain on Saturday--over 3 inches.

Honey Bee on Obedient Plant

This honey bee looks like it has ears on its head but it's the anthers of the plant. The plant evolved its design perfectly so that the bee picks up the pollen while feeding on the nectar deep inside. Then, when it goes to the next flower, it will deposit some pollen. When the pollen piles up, the bee uses its legs to put the pollen in sacs.

I am so glad I have quite a few fall flowers in the yard because there's very little in the fields now.

Native Bee on White Snakeroot Flowers

Finally, I wanted to post this photo of a copper-colored bee on White Snakeroot. It's about the length of a worker honey bee but slimmer. Does anyone know what it is?


  1. Love your Macro Work,great images.

  2. JRandSue--thanks. Glad you commented so I could find your blog.

  3. Sorry about the spider. But I can't help feeling glad she won't take any more bees. Gorgeous photographs.

  4. I have always loved your part of the country, the few times I've been out that way. Your photos are stunning! I've never seen a crab spider before!

  5. WOW! Pollen in disguise! Soooo cool, you taught me something new :D

  6. I shall have to check my flowers carefully for insects. Ww still have some phlox in bloom in our garden. Great spider photos!an interesting post.

  7. That was a neat comment about the yellow spider pretending to be pollen. Did you read that somewhere? There are so many interesting critters with behaviors that just make sense. hmmmmm evolution or creator?

  8. Valerie--I read that they change colors to blend in with their surroundings. Since this spider was the same shade as the pollen/anthers instead of the blue petals, I figured that was what she was trying to do--look like pollen but who knows for sure? Crab spiders depend on deception instead of web to catch their prey. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I can't believe I missed this post earlier.
    Great shots Joan!!