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by Valerie

October, 2012

Crab Spider

crab spider

This is the last thing a butterfly or bee might wish it had seen before it drops in for a nectar meal. Crab spiders (Mecaphesa sp.) are so often found in blossoms that they are sometimes called "flower spiders." Females are bigger than males and they are seen more frequently. They have, however, excellent camouflage and frequently blend in with their chosen flower to such a degree that plant photographers do not discover them in their pictures until they are enlarged on the computer screen. Crab spiders get their name partly from their shape and partly from the way they can move sideways when avoiding danger. Although these spiders are not particularly large, they have potent venom that can immobilize large insects such as butterflies, bees and even beetles in an instant. They, like other spiders, are capable of producing silk but they do not make a web for catching prey, instead simply ambushing their victims by grabbing hold and biting. Once a female lays her eggs, she will remain with them until they hatch, keeping them safe in a silken retreat and guarding them from potential predators.

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