A Hidden Predator

(I started this blog early in September when my blog site wouldn’t let me insert pictures. I couldn’t wait until next fall to post it.)

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Any butterfly in an awkward position usually indicates a predator. 

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In the case of this spicebush swallowtail, it was a female crab spider. (Females are much larger than males.)

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The butterfly was still alive and could only move its head and legs a little.

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Crab spiders ambush their prey. They inject it with venom to immobilize it and then suck it dry.

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The body of the swallowtail lay on the ground the next morning. Three days later a sliver-spotted skipper “hung” from the same phlox plant.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Good story & nice pictures, thanks for sharing!


  2. What a way to go. Excellent photos!


  3. I little gruesome, but that is the way that things happen in nature. I doubt that I would have spotted the hidden spider. Nice photos and narrative.


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