Hey @nanonaturalist I found this little dude in my car! Got some pictures before putting him out. What are they? I’m guessing some variety of orb weaver, but not sure?
Oh, NICE! Not an orbweaver! It’s a CRAB SPIDER!
Crab spiders are ambush predators, so they do not spin webs, and you will usually see them hiding on flowers or other parts of plants. Their two front pairs of legs are very long compared to their other legs, which is how they got their name. They are beautiful and interesting. Some species will camouflage themselves to match their hiding spots by changing their color! [link]
Since they don’t make webs, you will often see them with their mouths full. They strike very quickly and can catch some BIG THINGS to eat. The top two are eating a fly (left) and a leaf-footed bug (right), the bottom two are eating a caddisfly (I think… left) and a moth (right).
Many of the ones you see will be either white or yellow, but they come in some other striking colors as well. The top right spider in this set (on the purple flower) is an African species, but all other spiders in my post are from Texas, and I think you can see most of them throughout North America.
And cuz I can… a mating pair :D. Spiders can grow back legs that they lose, and the spider on top (the male) lost his two front left legs at the same time, because the new ones are equally tiny compared to his older, right legs. When I first saw these, I thought one was eating the other, but that was before I learned that males mate with their mouthparts (?!?!), and the female’s genital orifice is where her bellybutton would be if she had one.
Thanks for tagging me!
July 31, 2018