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
Here on Sheinton Street the water butts are brimming, and the garden has received a truly good soaking. On the one hand this is very good, on the other the water butts always seem to be full when there isn’t actually anything in need of water. Also the weekend downpours have left flower-life a bit washed out and droopy, especially these soggy phlox petals. But I was fascinated to spy amongst them a flock of tiny, tiny crab spiders, scarcely a couple of millimetres across.
Some seemed to be curled up, asleep in the sun. This one, however, did not care for my intrusion. But if you want to see a really whopping pic of a crab spider, though I’m guessing some of you may not, pop over to Ark’s.
In the Pink #24 The final week for pinkness over at Becky’s. Not too late to join in.
When I tell you that this crab spider is sitting on a zinnia bud and the zinnia bud is less than an inch across, then you can see, that in real life, this spider is very very small. Even in the next shot it’s still twice its actual size.
It’s fascinating to think that the hunting instinct is embodied in such a tiny entity. These spiders (Misumena vatia) do not spin webs to catch their prey. They sneak about in plants, sometimes seemingly taking on the shades of particular flowers as camouflage. And then they pounce!
I think the spider in this next shot is being a trifle ambitious. Can you spot it, lurking on the Doronicum? Also an ID for the bee-like fly would be welcome – Ark, Pete, Brian…
And now here’s a view of the garden, where all of life and death goes on – and under our very noses.
Can you see it? This slightly fuzzy macro shot has made a monster of the tiny little crab spider that is busy trying to hide from me. I should say that in real life it was less then one eighth of an inch (2mm) from top to toes. Even so, and you can’t see it very well from this angle, its abdomen had taken on the camouflage colours of the pinky-purple cosmos.
There’s just so much going on in the natural world around us, and most of it we miss entirely.
This little crab spider is for Ark at A Tale Unfolds. He regularly shares with us the fascinating wildlife in his Johannesburg garden. He’s rather keen on spiders. The one on my sedum (Misumena vatia) is, if internet photos are anything to go by, capable of taking on a big, fat bumble bee. The bees here are being a tad regardless I feel, so keen are they to guzzle nectar.
In fact sedums are bee heaven at this time of year, so everyone who can, do grow them. There’s a huge range to choose from. The bees are doubtless stoking up energy for the winter ahead. I also forgot to mention that the crab spider can, in a limited way, change colour to match the flowers it is hunting on, though it usually frequents yellow and white ones.
In my September in my garden post I mentioned that the rose at the top of the steps, Teasing Georgia, had come into bud for a second flourish. At the time the weather promised to be so dismal, I wondered if she’d get a chance to bloom without the flowers being rained off. Well, the sun came back and Georgia came out in all her golden flounces:
And here’s another tiny spider, identity unknown, sneaking in the echinacea (centre right):
And finally, a sun-dappled Japanese Anemone with a hover fly:
I’m linking to this Cee’s flower of the day
Please visit her blog for a daily floral fix.