“In a cowslip’s bell I lie…”


This tiny crab spider has been zoomed to giant size in the photo. I guess, in real time, it was about 3 millimetres across, less than a quarter of an inch. And still it waved its little front legs at me (most crab-like in posture) when I tried to take its portrait. Next it went into hiding under the flower, and when I pursued it down the stem it flung itself at me and then disappeared into the flower bed. It was most unnerving to find oneself having ‘a relationship’ (albeit a fractious one) with such a teeny-weeny little arachnid; the suggestion of ‘intelligence’ even.



As you can see in the next photo, the flowers of this cultivated cowslip are anyway quite small. Feisty little critter, the crab spider.


The quotation comes from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, Aerial’s song, a jolly little air:

Where the bee sucks, there suck I,
In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry;
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

Bright Square #16

24 thoughts on ““In a cowslip’s bell I lie…”

  1. One of my favourite spider species, but unfortunately somewhat scare this season.
    I’ve only ever seen this colouration once, so unless they are common at your spot this is a nice find.

    1. I have spotted them in other parts of the garden, usually later in the year, and rather larger, in among purplish-pink plants, and sporting pinkish stripes to match.

  2. How lovely to focus on such a tiny creature and bring him to life for us like this! And with a beautiful, and apt, quotation to go with the photos too 🙂

  3. Well-spotted, Tish, and at that size, quite cute Now cowslips is a much nicer sounding name than whatever I commented on last time. Can’t remember what it was but rather unappealing. 🙂 Not that a cowslipping would be good, but it just sounds better. Thanks for keeping track of this spider for so long and sharing the adventure, although it probably wasn’t thrilled having a giant after it.


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