Monday 23 April 2007

White Death Spider, Misumena vatia

I photographed this spider last summer.She was living on the cosmo flowers in my garden, hiding on the underneath of the petals most of the time.
I'd never seen a white spider before so I googled her and came up with this name, White Death Spider, sounds very dramatic, but have a look at these photos and you'll see why it's quite appropriate.

Here are a few facts I gleaned from this site
The high brow name is Misumena vatia, aka the Crab spider, due to the crabby way she moves, but the name she prefers herself is Flower spider, much prettier!
They don't weave a web, they ambush pollen gatherers, honey bees, butterflies etc. etc, injecting venom and sucking their prey dry there and then. Delightful!
The female is larger than the male, I think my photos are of a female which is why I'm referring to her all the time.
She can change colour from white,to yellow, to orange, very slowly, to camouflage herself against the flower she's on.
Maybe the spider in my photos just wanted to try pink for a while, unfortunately no can do.
Actually on the same cosmo plant there are white flowers, so obviously she was just having a stroll!

In the last photo here, I think this particular stance must be her defence mode, it certainly makes her look vicious, even I'd think twice before taking her on!


frankp said...


At least you were kind to her, the photos you linked to show the truth though...

Anonymous said...

Janie, this was really educational, nice little friends you keep!

Anonymous said...

Just identified my little spider sucking the life outta a bee thanks!! we had a run in with a Black widow from some foreign shipped food a couple of months ago, so were a bit paranoid!! i got some great photos of this one! Thanks for your help!