A few days ago, I spotted a green crab spider on a cosmos flower, took some photos, posted one here, and was graced by the talent and knowledge of Cathi L. who was quite instrumental in helping me identify it as a Mecaphesa celer. Below are a couple of photos of that arachnid, including the one that I originally posted.
Crab spiders are ambush predators and don't spin webs. They lie in wait for their prey to happen along and then pounce on them. I'm thinking that those looooong set of front legs, which give them that crab-like appearance, help extend their reach and thus aid them in capturing prey.
The next day, September 5, 2011, I checked that cosmos flower and found that crab spider was still there! I took a couple of photos, but they basically show the very same spider.
A day after that, September 6, 2011, I ran across the spider below, and based on what I had already learned about crab spiders, it was easy to see that this one is a crab spider too. In fact, I'm thinking that even though the colors are different, it too must be a Mecaphesa celer because it has the same markings and it's the same size and shape as the one I first photographed above.
Of course I could be wrong about this, and would welcome any corrections that any of you might offer!
In any case, after photographing this one, which was on our hollyhock leaves, I went back to our cosmos flowers, and lo and behold, the first green crab spider was still there, but I didn't take any photos because the freakin' skeeters have exploded around here andÂ and I hid inside most of the day to avoid any further significant blood loss.
Okay, so the next day I check that same cosmos flower again, and that green crab spider had now turned a gold-yellow, and its abdomen seems to be slightly swollen. And it's hiding between the petals that it has strung together with silk threads, forming a nice little hidey hole. Or maybe it's a shelter and this spider is a "she" and is planning on laying eggs there. That would explain the swollen abdomen, right?
The photo below appears to show a completely different spider from the one that was there just two days ago! If you look carefully, you might be able to make out the silk threads running horizontally near the top of the photo that are holding the petals together. The thread that appears to originate from the spider's abdomen is a bit easier to see.
The photo below is an even closer closeup and, again, doesn't look exactly like the first green crab spider. But the dimples visible on the top of its abdomen still match the first spider's. However, although this spider is the same size and shape, it doesn't seem to sport any hair on the abdomen, and the abdomen seems a bit swollen compared to the first spider.
The markings that outline a sort of "face" on the abdomen are also absent in the photo above.
Maybe it's a different spider, you say? While I admit that it's certainly possible, I'm just not sure, after all, it's on the same exact flower I originally found it on. But then, maybe this one is a female that visited the greener, hairier male, mated with him and then chased him off so she could build a nest and lay eggs?
Whatever the case really is, that's my spider story. And I'm stickin' to it! :-)
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