(This post originally published in September 2010)
Yesterday morning I had a wonderful time in the nearby Prairie Meadow. And only limited time to enjoy the meadow … deer season (archery only) opens tomorrow, so I only had yesterday and this morning (if it isn’t raining) and then will need to avoid this area for a while. Although the blooms are fading on many of the wildflowers, there are still some good color from the “old standbys” … Goldenrod, Liatris, even the Blue Sage continues to bloom! But having some nice images of these things, I concentrated on looking for other photographic subjects. One such subject was found, hiding deep within a flower. While walking the perimeter of the meadow, I walked into a large area that had a lot of white wildflowers blooming (haven’t yet pulled my reference books to identify them). As I walked among them, a bright yellow caught my eye against the white flowers:
Walking around the plant, I worked at getting a better look at the creature, which turned out to be a colorful spider:
After I returned home, I pulled out my “Common Missouri Spiders” brochure that is published by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). This is a Ridge-Faced Flower Spider (Misumenoides formosipes) and is found statewide in open field and gardens that contain many composite-type flowers. The Ridge-Faced Flower Spider belongs to the crab spiders, Family Thomisidae. This small spider can change it’s color to approximate that of it’s surroundings. According to the MDC information, thousands of minute, crab spiderlings lie concealed in spring and summer flower heads, waiting to capture insects with their powerful forelegs. However, they are more likely to be observed after they have matured, in early autumn fields and pasture lands among such plants as daisy fleabanes, asters and goldenrods. The Ridge-Faced Flower Spider’s diet consists of bees, flies, and other spiders (especially crab spiders).
Amazing how colorful many of our small critters are!