Golden Flower Crab Spider

Hello and welcome back! It’s time to add another entry to our list of spiders with unusual hunting methods; I would like to introduce you all to the golden flower crab spider! She is quite a pretty little lady, isn’t she?

Yellow isomorph
Yellow isomorph of M. vatia

Quick Spider Facts
Latin name: Misumena vatia
This spider is common throughout the northern hemisphere.
Female spiders can grow to have a body size of up to 10 mm, while males are less than half that size.
They are completely harmless to humans.

This spider is exceptionally lazy, and everything else about it stems from that. The less energy the female spider has to expend by moving in any way, the larger she can grow and the more eggs she can lay. Her top strategy, for both hunting and evading predators, is camouflage. M. vatia will position herself on a white or yellow flower and simply wait for prey to walk into her. To aid her efforts and allow her a wider choice of flowers, she has the ability to change her colour at will between white and yellow.

White isomorph camouflaged on a flower.
White isomorph camouflaged on a flower.

The colour change involves production and excretion of a yellow pigment within the spider’s shell. Upon choosing a flower to live on, the spider will begin the colour change process. Changing from white to yellow is more energy intensive and takes much longer, since the pigment (kynurenine) must be synthesised within the spider. Within two to three weeks the spider will have completed the colour change. Turning back to white is a lot easier, as all the spider has to do is excrete the pigment again; this takes less than a week. During the colour change process, the spider is less well camouflaged and more vulnerable, so choosing a new flower is risky. It’s best to settle into a spot and never ever leave. That sounds like a good plan to me!

tldr basically a shitty chameleon

Golden Flower Crab Spider

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