Flower crab spider, Misumena vatia

Flower crab spider, Misumena vatia

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Caption: A female flower crab spider, Misumena vatia, on an open flower of Lilium regale. The picture shows the spider in a stationary pose on a petal of the flower. The small orange particles on the petal are pollen grains. The spider is awaiting the arrival of its prey - in this situation, likely to be a hoverfly feeding on the pollen. Crab spiders do not spin a web, but they do use silk as an anchor and for climbing. Their hunting technique is to remain motionless on a flower, their front legs extended (as here), until a prey insect approaches. They then become alert and turn to face the prey. If the prey moves within range, it is grabbed and injected with a potent poison. Large insects may be taken, including bumblebees. M. vatia has a limited ability to camouflage itself by colour change. On L. regale, it is white. It can also assume a yellow or a greenish hue when necessary.

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Keywords: camouflage, flower crab spider, hoverfly, lilium regale, misumena vatia, petal, pollen, spider colour, spider hunting technique, spider web

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