Friday, 28 June 2013

Death in The Rhododendrons

Bees aren't having a very good year with all the cool weather we've been having and when visiting the rhododendrons in my garden they also have to contend with this master of disguise and ambush.

Victim number one Bombus pascuorum

Victim number two Bombus pratorum.
The ground below this particular rhododendron bush was littered with the empty husks of previous victims.

The assassin is a female Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) a master of disguise who can change colour from white to yellow or green to match the colour of the flowers or leaves she is on. This one has very prominent strips too. These are often much less pronounced or even absent.

Close up showing her eight eyes and large jaws.

Not so clever now, hey?
She stands out like a sore thumb when on the 'wrong' vegetation and would be under considerable danger from foraging birds until she finds another white/pink flower or indeed changes colour which takes around two to three weeks!

Lastly another species of hoverfly. I found this one on Seaton Marshes a week or so ago.

Xanthogramma pedissequum


Lou Mary said...

Wow what a scary looking spider! Looks like she could take on anything!

rharris said...

Hi Karen, hope you don't mind me saying but I think victim 1 is Bombus pascuorum rather than the very local humilis. Humilis prefers open meadows and is found almost exclusively feeding on labiates and clovers.