Being on safari in South Africa is definitely a wildlife highlight of the year, but it is a very different kind of wildlife watching to my normal style. I like taking time to notice the changes in the habitat around me and to watch nature going about its business, whether this is charismatic mammals or enigmatic insects. Today’s blog post is squarely in the second camp. While assessing the impact of the summer sun on the garden I came across this beautiful little critter, which I believe to be a crab spider. I say believe because there are 37 families of 670 species of spider in the UK and I am definitely not an expert.
Crab spider – Photo credit: Em
I think this is a crab spider because the front two pairs of legs are longer than the third and forth (which makes it look like a crab…). What also makes this a trickier ID is that the spider can change colour to adapt to the flower head it has made home. As an ambush predator this is an important skill to have. My crab spider is the colour of dying sage, because it is on a dying sage bush. It is quite a small one – so maybe a good ‘gateway spider’ for those who prefer their wildlife to have considerably less legs.
P.S. I would highly recommend the field guide by Bee, Oxford and Smith (ISBN: 978-0-691-16529-5) for any British spider ID questions.