Thursday, March 31, 2011

crab spider ~ 03/31/11 ~ Carmel Highlands

best guess female goldenrod crab spider on greater periwinkle
best guess Misumena vatia on Vinca major

Let me be clear, this spider ID is my best guess. I wish my early morning photos showed the eyes and carapace better. The more I looked into Thomisidae (aka crab spiders), the more I got confused with the genera of interest - Mecaphesa (too hairy), Misumena (only vatia is well-pictured online), Misumenoides (eh?), Misumenops (most nearctic spp. now placed in Mecaphesa). I felt like Bill the Cat Ack!

Despite being considerably south from where I live, I have really liked UC Irvine's Natural History of Orange County for their pictorial representations, but I have some doubts their spider IDs are entirely correct. I've linked to BugGuide twice in the common name and the scientific name above, and even they're not all that accurate. I'm not criticizing them, it's just the nature of the beast, so to speak. There are so many insects and spiders out there, it's a challenge for everyone. I suspect the people who really know, don't spend their time posting pictures online. I found this list of Spiders of California helpful to check what actually occurs around here.

A fellow nature blogger and I were e-mailing about how we don't want to add to the prolific online misinformation. Yet, I want to learn more. For people who find my blog through searches (apparently, google and bing are now my best "customers"), they may not be aware that this blog is my learning tool and I'm totally okay making mistakes. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I am NOT an expert. All I can guarantee are that my pictures are taken on the date of the blog post and at the location indicated in the labels.

At the end of the day, my final thought on the above pictures is, "Oooh, look at the cool white spider on the pretty purple flower."


Jennifer said...


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I'm seeing a lot of these spiders in the orchard this year. I noticed them for the first time last year, when I found one dining on a honey bee! They are fascinating creatures, able to change their body color depending on the flowers on which they lurk...although I'm not sure they can achieve purple! I just found another the other day, chomping on a leaf cutter bee. The rule, 'don't eat anything bigger than your head' does NOT apply to these spiders! ;)

Patricia Lichen said...

Nice--love the photos (and the disclaimer almost as much! ;o)

Patricia Lichen,

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Jennifer, thanks for our visit the other day.

Clare, I'd be so pleased if I found a periwinkle-colored crab spider.

Ms. Lichen, love your name!

Sue Langley said...

We have Giant Crab spiders here...they are light brown but look about the same size as this one, so I bet you're right.

Rashmie @ Mommy Labs said...

Hi, I just now found your site when looking for periwinkle in nature - for my 7-year old daughter who's very interested in the wonders of colours these days.

I love being in nature, doing art and craft with nature and mostly just observing the every-day sights and sounds in nature.

I've subscribed to your blog. Liked the pictures and the information you share.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks, Rashmie!