Monday, December 27, 2010

Do they get along?

I can no longer walk by a patch of Yarrow without looking for Goldenrod Crab Spiders, Misumena vatia. They are not only beautiful and exhibit interesting behavior, they change color. I wonder if yellow feels superior to white or vice versa, or if these creatures experience the equivalent of racism in humans. It turns out the color-changing ability does not function as camouflage but rather as an attractant. When a spider in its yellow phase rests on a white background, such as in the top photo, it looks like a flower to some potential pollinators. I've had the thrill of watching this happen. I was once photographing Yarrow when one of these spiders in the yellow phase came out from under the flower head, posed for a moment, and was visited by a would-be pollinator, a hover fly, which it promptly captured and ate. Photos of this event may be found in earlier postings on this blog.

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