Insect-Arachnid Interaction: Slender crab spider feeding on a signal fly

slendercrabsignalfly

Slender crab spider (Araneae: Philodromidae: Tibellus sp.) feeding on a signal fly (Diptera: Platystomatidae). Photographed 07/03/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Many spiders build webs and passively wait for prey animals to be ensnared in their traps. Others like crab spiders (Araneae: Thomisidae) don’t build webs, but still passively wait to ambush prey. Some spiders, however, are active predators that stalk and kill their meals. Among them are slender crab spiders (Araneae: Philodromidae: Tibellus sp.). Earlier this month I came across one that had hunted down a signal fly (Diptera: Platystomatidae).

slendercrabsignalfly2

Slender crab spider (Araneae: Philodromidae: Tibellus sp.) feeding on a signal fly (Diptera: Platystomatidae). Photographed 07/03/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Slender crab spiders spend most of their time on low foliage hunting insect prey. They’re often found with their legs stretched out along the shoots of plants as shown here. Signal flies keep their wings in near-constant motion as if “signaling,” and this habit perhaps makes them more obvious prey for these predatory spiders.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Insect-Arachnid Interaction: Slender crab spider feeding on a signal fly

  1. Stalked by a spider….a frightening thought!
    Would rather be stalked by a butterfly. 🙂

    Like

  2. Mike Powell says:

    Cool shots of a spider that I have not yet seen. Spiders are fascinating for me, with so many variations in size, color, and behavior. The ones that don’t build webs are really difficult for me to spot, which makes your shots more amazing.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s