Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moth. Sort of.

I was taking a stroll on the Dr George Trail this morning when I noticed this moth. It was fairly nondescript as moths go, but what caught my eye was that it wasn't moving. Now, I realise that for most people a non-moving moth would be nothing to write home about, but for me it usually means one thing: look for the spider.

Sure enough, the moth wasn't moving because it was in the process of being breakfast. Here's a cropped version of the above photograph. See if you can find the small, white ball on the top right side of the moth:

The white ball is the abdomen of the spider that's eating the moth. I'm not sure what species of spider this is (it was pretty tiny) but I'm assuming that it's a member of the Crab Spider family (Thomisidae). These spiders are ambush hunters rather than web builders. They hide in amongst flowers or leaves and wait for their prey to come to them. Crab spiders are often fairly well camouflaged since they have to be more or less invisible to the prey that they're hunting.

So how do you find crab spiders, then?

You look for the moth (or bee, or wasp, or fly...) that's not moving.

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