Full House

A range of appetites — lust to dust — happening here. The crab spider has snagged a fly for supper and a pair of blister beetles are busy making baby beetles. Meanwhile, almost out of sight, another beetle minding its own business.

Blister beetles (one of the longhorn beetles) are a staple of our roses. Judging by last summer each rose will soon house at least one.

Mating longhorn beetles with unidentified beetle

Although the beetles didn’t pay me any attention the crab spider was more alert and started to drag her meal off the petal.

Crab spider & fly and longhorn beetles

Crab sider and fly

The spider settled down after a few minutes and hauled her catch back up again.

Full house

Next time you pass a blossom take a second look — who’s living in your flowers?

Blister beetle   Lytta spp. ?
Goldenrod crab spider   Misumena vatia
Prickly wild rose   Rosa acicularis        (Provincial flower of Alberta)


Hang ‘Em High

On a trip to the desert yesterday with Jeff I found this speckled spider dangling in a clump of brittlebush. She was almost invisible among the flower stalks.

Using Jeff’s macro lens I was (sort of) able to capture her and parts of her web. A very shallow depth of field turned the clusters of sun-yellow flowers into a pale backdrop.

I handheld the big lens — it weighs more than the camera — so the focus is a tad off. But I’m pleased. Don’t know what the spider thought of it. 🙂

Who You Be?

Looking for green lily buds my eyes landed on a stem tipped with this amazing (to me) spider.

Most spiders I meet are rather plain and dark but this one shouted: Look at me! Orange. Yellow. Lime. Black spots!

BugGuide had a name: I’d found a female sixspotted orbweaver.

Unfortunately the name was about it. As for many creepy crawlers, information about their lives is lacking. Not as interesting — or as easy — to study as trees or toads or bears, I guess.

While still revelling in my “rare” find, Ma Nature hit me again. The next day I brushed against a stem in the garden and found another sixspot dangling from my finger.

A reminder that seeing is more than looking.

Sixspotted orbweaver   Araniella displicata
Green lily   Zygadenus elegans

Welcome to My Parlour

Poet Mary Howit knew a thing or three about spiders. She would have seen this dew-laden silk and dark doorway for the trap it is.

In 1829 she penned lines that became one of the most quoted warnings about false flattery:

“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly, 
‘Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy; 

We all know what happened to the fly.

Whose parlour are you sitting in?

Wolf Spider

Padded jacket, gloves, wool scarf, balaclava, boots. I’m still cold. The north wind finds all the cracks in my clothing.

I crawl through the barbwire fence and hike to the trees. Squat on the lee side of an old poplar.

I’m not the first one here: Spread-eagled on the trunk, a wolf spider.

We sit in companionable silence.

Alone together.