Wednesday, July 2, 2014

crab spider ~ 07/02/14 ~ Donner Pass

posted 09/28/14 - If I were to hazard a guess as to the type of crab spider, I'd say it's a flower crab spider (Misumena), more specifically the goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia).  Another possibility could be the whitebanded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes).  However, I'm guessing it's near impossible to tell from my photo, even if I knew what diagnostics to look for.  Eh, I'm not too fussed about the spider ID.  I'm guessing there are more spiders on flowers than I ever notice, because good nectar sources are essentially ready-made butterfly buffets, bee buffets, you name it, for hungry spiders.  Seriously, crab spiders are extraordinarily good at camouflage.  Art thought the Montana here is most likely a female.  Ya.  Hey, I'll take whatever photos I can get.  This is one of my better ones.

ps  - I found Ed Nieuwenhuys' Australian crab spider page to be fantastic.

Montana crescent ~ 07/02/14 ~ Donner Pass

male Phyciodes pulchella montana (formerly Phyciodes campestris montana)

If I wasn't careful, I might mistake the topside (dorsal) for a female Mylitta crescent!  Technically this is a subspecies of the field crescent, but considering I won't see this anywhere near where I live, I prefer to think of it as being a different entity entirely.  Our Monterey County field crescents (Phyciodes pulchella pulchella) are much darker than this, looking like a predominantly dark brown butterfly vs. an orange one.