Dear Crab Spider,
Please don't eat the pollinators. You may help yourself to a mosquito, a crane fly, a lygus bug, an aphid, and a katydid, not necessarily in that order. And more than one if you like. In fact, how about an all-you-can-eat buffet of luscious lygus bugs? So good! Yes, you may tell all your arachnid friends about the nutritious, high-protein meals available just for the taking. Please do. Just don't eat the pollinators.
Crab spiders do not listen. They will eat what they want and when they want it. And they will gorge themselves. They are not interested in joining Weight Watchers. They are Wait Watchers.
For the past several months, crab spiders have been lurking on our blanket flower (Gaillardia). Most of the time, they just sit there, waiting patiently for dinner to arrive. Sometimes it's a long wait--longer than it takes for a waiter to return to your table during a rush-hour holiday lunch.
So, Ms. or Mr. Crab Spider--not sure of the gender, but "Predator" will do--dined recently on a sweat bee, a female Halictus tripartitus. We watched Predator lunge at a honey bee (missed!) and pursue at a male long-horned bee, probably Melissodes agilis.
Our cunning little arachnid no doubt nailed a few others--the "waistline" is a dead giveaway.
Author - Communications specialist
A crab spider dines on a sweat bee, a female Halictus tripartitus (as identified by native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Missed! A male long-horned bee, probably Melissodes agilis, eludes the crab spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A crab spider on top of the world, the cone of a petal-less blanket flower (Gaillardia). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Hey, I can wait all day. And I will. I'm a Wait Watcher. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)