In September when the sun was shining (remember that day?) I went to check on the garden wildlife and managed to photograph a white Crab Spider eating a Honeybee on one of my Michaelmas daisies. This alone was amazing to see but not as amazing as seeing a small Bumblebee land on the very same flower at the same time!
The white crab spider & prey shares a flower with a passing bumblebee
You’d think that the bees would have given that flower a wide berth but oh no, they needed to feed so that’s exactly what they would do.
If you look closely you can just see her “group” of dark eyes
I managed a couple more photos of the Crab Spider as it held it’s prey in it’s venomous bite. These spiders don’t build webs but are instead hunters and ambushers.
Some species (like this Misumena vatia above) can even change their colour from white to yellow to match the colour of the flower they’re on. It obviously couldn’t turn pink… but still managed a hefty catch.
Still hanging on – the meal is as big as she is!
Later, when she had dragged her prey away under the flowers, I noticed that NO bees went to that flower. Interesting. I wonder how they knew?
I find it fascinating to think that my garden is “home” to thousands of insects and spiders that patrol it’s plants, flowers and soil. A lot of them probably don’t even go next-door, maybe don’t even go more than 20ft in the whole of their lives.
A female Field Grasshopper lays her eggs between the paving
This Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus is a good example of that. I left an area of grass to grow high this year. I call it my wild meadow even though it’s only about 30ft by 20ft. There are a few wildflowers but it’s still predominately grass (wait until the Yellow Raffle I planted takes effect!).
Nearly finished? She was laying eggs for at least 2 hours…
Next to the “meadow” is a patio area (not very well looked after) and this September (same day as the Crab Spider above) I found this female Field Grasshopper laying her eggs in between the cracks of the paving. I’ve never witnessed this before. She will have dug down with her abdomen into the sand and laid her eggs using her ovipositor, and there they will stay until the weather warms up and the cycle of life starts again next Spring.
Life and death in an urban garden – hard to imagine that so much is going on under our very noses. Still, even more reason to skip the fertilizers and weed killers for another year, leave a little area of garden untouched – and hopefully welcome even more dazzling wildlife in 2009!