Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Crab Spider

This shot of a crab spider (Misumena vatia) was taken in the Itchen Valley Country Park in April 2014. It was taken with a borrowed macro lens (Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro).

Crab spiders can be found throughout the southern half of England and Wales. They are most commonly found on the borders between grass and scrub. They hide on flowers and wait for flies or other small insects to land near them, then pounce and catch them with their front legs.

Mature female crab spiders can change colour between white and yellow to match the plant that they are hunting on. When on a yellow flower, this is done by secreting a liquid yellow pigment into the outer cell layer of the body. On a white flower, this yellow pigment is transported into lower cell layers so that inner glands, which are white, show through. To change from white to yellow takes between 10 and 25 days, whereas to change from yellow to white only takes six days. Mature males are smaller and predominantly brown.

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