Skip to main content

A crab spider hug

Winter brings its charms, but as I get older I also find myself pining for spring, warmer weather, and the explosion of life, earlier each year. Here it is in late December and I'm already longing for bugs, flowers, warblers and all of that other stuff of the balmy months.
 
The good thing about taking, and keeping, reams of photos is that I can beam myself back in time via pictures. I clicked into a folder from an Adams County, Ohio foray of last August 18th - that day was MUCH warmer than it is right now - and ran across these crab spider photos.
 
The animal had staked out the discoid flowers of a Wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia, and was awaiting its next meal. Any tiny flower fly or other well-intentioned pollinator would die a grisly death soon after alighting on this blossom. The spider was a juvenile, and tiny, and I don't know the species other than it's some sort of crab spider. Good enough for now.

As the front glass of my lens neared his eight-eyed grill, the itsy-bitsy spider menacingly spread its forelegs wide, as if to give your narrator an arachnoid hug. No backing off here, in spite of my size advantage. I made my images and let the little crab spider get back to its homicidal work.

Comments

Unknown said…
Hey, I thought you "loved all the seasons" You should be out looking for redpolls. Seriously, warmth does have its charms. Your spider looks a lot like an immature Misumessus oblongus (AKA Misumenops oblongus before they shifted it to a different genus). This spider is often pale green with few spines on the cephalothorax or abdomen (compared to other similar ones in this group). Of course we can't know from a photo of a juvenile, even a very nice one (like these)!

Cheers, rich
Jim McCormac said…
Thanks Rich, if anyone would know the identity of that spider, it would be you! My copy of your new book is on order, but amazon has not yet shipped it. Looking forward to receiving that and I'll be reviewing it here, and in the Columbus Dispatch.

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…