Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goldenrod Crab Spider

Found this guy (actually girl) in the side garden last weekend on yellow and orange Lantana flowers.  I don't recall ever seeing one, so looked on the internet to ID and find a little more info.  Turns out this is Misumena vatia, and this is a female (the male is much smaller).  Kind of interesting that this spider does not spin a web, but instead is an 'ambush spider' and jumps on it's prey (common prey includes bees and flies).  They bite their prey and inject a venom.  I'm guessing you would not want to be bit by this spider... probably very painful.
Adult females are reasonably large, with an abdomen about the size of a large pea.  They can change color to match their background, and are often found on yellow flowers (hence the goldenrod name).  The front legs are long and powerful, much like those of a crab.  They are described (and photos show) a reddish color  'chevron' or V-shaped marking, but the one in my garden definitely had a black V.  This marking is thought to attract bees.
So there you have it... everything you ever wanted to know (and probably more!) about the Goldenrod Crab Spider.


  1. Oh - I liked learning about this beauty - I've never encountered one. I'm afraid its "hugs and kisses" would be lethal! Nice find and capture. PS I like you Header photo of Joshua Tree. My husband and I like traveling to CA, but mostly stay north of SF.

  2. that's an awesome spider, beautiful colors!

  3. I've seen crab spiders and have yet to get a decent photo of one... these are great!

  4. I had to look up your crab spider photo. Very beautiful!