One of the photos in HERBS this week of the Acrolophia lamellata shows a yellow flower crab spider hunting a bee. “Spiders of Southern Africa” by Astri and John Leroy gives some interesting facts about crab spiders:-
These spiders belong to a very large family and are widespread and common throughout Southern Africa. They are 3-23mm in size, with most males being smaller than the females. Overall body shape and colour varies according to the lifestyle of the species. Most crab spiders live on plants and flower crab spiders are brightly coloured (yellow green, pink and white). Several species in the genus can change colour over several days to blend with the flower on which they sit and wait for their prey.
They generally do not build webs. Instead they use their fangs to pierce tiny holes into their victims’ bodies, through which they suck the body fluids. The outer skeleton is then discarded. Their venom is not harmful to man, but is fast-acting on insects, enabling them to take prey larger than themselves. They play an important role in keeping insect numbers in check.
Article by Jane Crawford. Images, Ronnie Hazell