Nat Geo moment

My Felicia are in full bloom right now, so I’m deadheading every day. Two days ago, I discovered this little lady perched on one of the blossoms:

crab spider

I have never seen a pink crab spider! Then again, I’ve never seen a crab spider trying to blend in with Felicia blossoms, either. Spiders in this family have considerable camouflage ability, ranging from white to yellow to orange to…apparently, pink.

My geek network came up with a name: Thomisus onustus, a crab spider with a tremendously large range throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. This species is sexually dimorphic, with the females dwarfing the males in size. Clearly, my visitor is a female in her prime.

I’m having to be very careful with my watering and deadheading now, and look for her every day before beginning any plant care. She’s been hanging around the same general area, always either directly on or just below a blossom. This afternoon I found her with a small fly in her grasp, already half sucked dry. She’s found a good hunting ground, so I don’t expect her to leave until the Felicia finish blooming. Which could be awhile; they usually don’t give up until the onset of summer. Since breeding season will happen before then, I might get lucky and find her in a coital embrace.

Come to think of it, that’s probably the very definition of biology geekery — you know you qualify when you’re hoping to catch a spider having sex.

(Click the image to arachnify.)

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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5 Responses to Nat Geo moment

  1. Alma says:

    Haha! Yeah, that’s a geeky pinnacle if ever I saw one. Now I wish more than ever that I could just pop over for a visit to join in the spider spying. WHY is Sweden so far from Algarve??

  2. deswie says:

    That is beautiful.

  3. Hiked Calaveras Big Trees South Grove mostly to photograph blooming dogwood. Ran across several crab spiders (who change their color to match their environment and can change body and leg color independently) but this adult female was eating something. It wasn’t until I got home and enlarged it, then did some research to discover we had caught her in the act of eating her mate after receiving him, something that certain spiders (black widow) and insects (praying mantis) do. The male is much smaller than the female of the species. I find it strangely beautiful and at the same time eerie. Crab spiders are difficult to shoot because they will almost invariably climb to the opposite side of whatever object they’re on if they detect movement. I have seen a crab spider inside a purple mum, legs reaching up to mimic the petals, with a yellow body to match the heart of the flower and purple legs to match the petals. They are amazing creatures.

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