Goldenrod Crab Spider – Misumena vatia

I’m a pretty observant gal. Perhaps it’s my anxiety?

Naaa! I’ve honed my skills over the years.  Your brain needs to process so many things, at such a high speed… Some people’s processors aren’t up to the challenge and the brain blocks ‘unneeded’ information that’s not necessary for the conscious mind to be aware of. However, who decides what you consciously want to see? Your brain or your conscious mind? I say the latter. I tend to notice the smallest of things and I have more control on what information gets brought to light, consciously. I scan my perimeter constantly. I’m actually not consciously thinking about doing it, but if I’ve seen it, its been filed in my memory. When someone asks where something is, I know exactly where it is, it’s been cataloged. Another way my brain works for the girl is in noticing things that are really hard to see, even close-up. I hadn’t realized I had lost my diamond stud earring until I was running through a dirty garage and my head was forced down suddenly and I noticed my stud. There was a lot of crap on the floor, it even surprised me I saw it. My brain is trained to notice more subtle ’emergencies’ like this and sometimes, force a body part to aid in bringing something to my attention.  I do believe that you need to train yourself to observe like I do. It’s not called a ‘trained eye‘ fer nothing. 😉

That is how I see things like this fair lady, hunting among the milkweeds!

crab spider 2   crab spider

They don’t call these guys crab spiders for nothing. Their two front legs have what’s called “laterigrade leg orientation”, which means they can walk sideways and scuttle like a crab. Their legs are also fashioned with claws that make grabbing their prey easier.

Crab spiders are hunters and do not use a web to capture food (they do make safety lines (bungeeeeeee!!) and egg sacs out of silk, tho.) They enjoy a good hunt by sitting motionless atop flowers waiting for a meal to drop into their open arms.

Did you know they could change color also?!? Some like to be white, some yellow and all ranges in-between. It depends on what flower they decided to set-up shop on. The color change from white to yellow takes between 10 and 25 days, the reverse about six days.

Although goldenrod flowers are common places to find them, milkweed is a close second. Milkweed that is no longer flowering is one of their favorite spots to lay their annual egg. She will bend a tip of a leaf and web it together, then lay her eggs inside the roll. She stands guard over the eggs until her death, which is normally only a few days after laying them. The eggs hatch about 21 days after they were laid and the spiderlings overwinter in the brush, maturing the following spring or summer.

Here’s an AWESOME spider guide for the Midwest from the Field Museum! It’s easily downloaded or printed for field use.

C with a circle – Ilex Farrell

20 thoughts on “Goldenrod Crab Spider – Misumena vatia

  1. I love those little spiders. Didn’t know they could change cor. That’s cool. Our eyes and brains are easily trained to see things that move or things that are out if the ordinary. I think that’s because our ancestors were hunters. I can spot a hawk way up in the sky while walking down a street that others don’t notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You do have a keen eye for small details. It is easy to miss those little spiders. Colour changing crab spiders are so interesting. As for being able to train one’s eyes, I agree. I found that when I started needing to take shots for my blog, I started to notice so many little things that I would previously passed by. In fact, just using a camera on walks made a huge difference to what I started to notice. I think I tended to have a sort of tunnel vision before that.

    Liked by 1 person

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