Skip to content

Arizona has many different crab spiders.

We have colorful ones that hide in flowers.

We have gentle giants (Olios sp.).

This week we have a new (to us) crab spider.

It was small spot, a body and legs sunning on a car cover. At first glance, I thought it might be a tick.

A closer look shows it is a spider because it has two distinct body regions. Ticks are basically one oval body.

The forward-directed front legs indicate it is a crab spider.

In fact, it appears to be a ground crab spider, Xysticus sp. (Experts, please correct me).

It's always fun to find something new.

Want to learn a few basics about how to identify spiders? See our previous post.

Or pick up a book from our growing list of children's books about spiders at Science Books for Kids.

2

Sometimes simply adding one plant to your yard can attract new insects. This week our Mexican hat or prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) is flowering.

mexican-hat-flower354

Look at all the bugs enjoying the blooms.

_bee-0226

Of course you would expect to see bees visiting flowers.

pollen-coated-bee_0323

This bee was collecting loads of pollen.

beetle-0290Also visiting the flowers were beetles,

lacebug-0311lace bugs,

looper-caterpillar-231and a looper or geometrid caterpillar. Actually, there are two caterpillars in this photograph. Look down and to the left.

tiny-caterpillar-in-focus242Maybe you can see it better in this photograph. It looks like a thread of white on the edge of the petal towards the bottom. It is a first instar or newly-hatched caterpillar.

crab-spider-plus0307Wherever there are bugs feeding on plants, there are predators like this crab spider ready to feed on the bugs.