Posts Tagged ‘bud’

Thistles … Have Visitors?

What was this crab spider thinking? How did it even get on the tip of this thistle bud?

How can prey get to it?

Thistles have bloomed for a while out in the middle of my weed patch because there’s more sun light there. I’ve been watching the shorter ones growing on the south side of the weed patch. They are getting more sunlight now that the sun’s moving farther south.

The pattern on the buds looks like it’s been stitched, and I’ve photographed it often.

Only tiny insects could crawl around on these plants.

The words hostile environment come to mind.

I checked the spider in the evening, and it was gone. I assumed it lowered itself on a strand of silk … wonder if it lowered itself onto the bud in the first place?

These pictures are from the next evening.

This one was on a different bud. It didn’t like the attention, and

it did a quick side-step, angling downward. It also angled its body outward.  I assumed this posture was meant to threaten me by making itself look bigger.

Then it resumed its patient-waiting position.

I didn’t see the tiny jumping spider at the base of this bud until I saw the picture on the computer. Obviously, thistles have more activity around buds than I expected, and will have even more when they bloom.

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Then I found more interesting things around the thistles this evening. (the next night).

This spider’s pale coloring and faint markings makes me think it recently molted.

Three of the thistles changed dramatically in the last 24 hours. If you look close, about a third of the way up, you’ll see a tiny darkish winged insect.

The prey here looked like maybe a beetle. It was a 16th of an inch at the very most.

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Crab Spider

I’m proud of this picture!  This is the tiniest crab spider I’ve ever seen! From the lack of color, I suspect it’s recently-hatched. The bud it’s on is a 1/4 inch long.

The crab spider is on butterflyweed, a milkweed. Milkweeds are one of the best butterfly magnets, but that’s for another blog.

Crab spiders can turn the color of the flower they’re on, the better to “hide” themselves when waiting for prey to come close. They don’t weave a web to capture their prey; they use their front legs. They bite their prey to kill it and then suck it dry.  With legs spread, it shows how they got their name. The males grow to 1/8 inch long, and the females from 1/4 to 3/8 inch long.