Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Crab Spider (misumena vatia) !

It's been awhile since last we met, July 2014 to be exact,
 so a pleasant surprise when our paths crossed once again.

This little spider reminiscent of a miniature crab,is the only one of its type living in our country, which makes it that much more special when you do find one.

That phrase "common in the south" comes back to haunt me, this being the only second sighting I have ever made,

Maybe it's their ability to change colour that's fooling me, they rely heavily on this camouflage manoeuvre, not only to deceive their prey, which they pounce on from their ambush position, but also to hide from would be predators like birds and the like.

It appears that the best time to look for this little spider is between May and June, but they have been recorded up to August. so my two sightings come into that bracket quite nicely, first being seen in July 2014, the second in May 2016.

 They do not spin webs, they lie in ambush on or under a flower head.

It's the mature females that have this ability to change colour, usally white to yellow or the reverse, white to yellow can take up to twenty five days, yellow to white  up to six days, so it's not an instant process like an Octopus or Chameleon.
 The males are much smaller and usually brown in colour.

The front four legs of the Crab spider are longer, giving it a crab like appearance, it also uses these to grab its prey allowing it to bite and inject its poison and disable its prey. it can also move sideways again like a crab.

 My second sighting above, which again looks like a female in its yellow colouration sitting on some Blackthorn blossom, certainly not camouflaged, because it caught my attention as I walked past, maybe its just moved from a yellow flower head.

This was my first sighting back in 2014, a white coloured female on a spike of Vipers bugloss, strangely not well  camouflaged, but what caught my attention at the time, was the small moth fluttering in its death throes on the flower head with the spider sitting next to it, I did not have my camera with me at the time, but it was still there the next day allowing a few photographs. 

Female Crab Spider Misumena Vatia 

As spiders go, a strikingly good looking specimen, must keep my eyes open.


  1. Never seen one. Must have a good look. And soon too by the looks of things.

  2. love the crab spider pictures now I really want to see one