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Saturday 19 July 2014

Crab spider kills violently in a domestic herbaceous border on an Achillea flower

Achillea makes a stately, bold splash of colour in this English garden.  It is available from seed merchants such as Suttons, click here for the link.
These flat, yellow Yarrow flowers, are attractive to insects; that is their purpose.
However, an eight-eyed, eight-legged sprinting predator, lies in wait -- Misumena vatia, one of the Crab spiders.
It spins no web, just lies in wait and pounces on unsuspecting insects such as flies and butterflies, biting them in the neck to paralyse them with its venom.   

 Disturbed by my camera lens, (which through eight simple eyes may have appeared as a one-eyed blackbird seeking a crab spider and fly canape), the spider retreated under the flower head.  There it lurked whilst my lens sought it out.

 This is a female, which may be pale green, white or yellow as this one.  The male is smaller with dark legs; source: Insects of Britain and Western Europe by Michael Chinery.
Both rows of four simple eyes can be seen above.  See also the spiny legs with which it secures its prey.
Gardens are fascinating in detail, the more so where no chemicals or sprays are used.  

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