• Lacerta Bilineata

MISUMENA VATIA - There's danger everywhere...

My garden may look like a peaceful paradise to humans, but for the little creatures living in it it's a place where death lurks at every step. Every once in a while when I'm working in the garden or I'm just reading a book, I hear a very distinct, loud buzzing that stands out as somewhat unusual among the many noises and sounds I hear during the day. By now I know what that sound is: it's the panicky, frantic buzzing of a European honeybee (apis mellifera) that fell prey to a very distinguished predator: the flower crab spider (misumena vatia). The arachnid usually hides in flowers patiently waiting for an unsuspecting insect; due to its ability to adapt its color to that of the flowers it hunts in it is almost invisible - and all the more deadly to its prey. The pictures below are actually somewhat unusual, because this crab spider didn't hunt in a flower but in the leaves of the vines that make up the roof of my veranda. Once it caught that bee it let itself fall into the empty space below, safely secured by two threads, to enjoy its meal undisturbed (and probably also in order not to become the prey of another predator, like a podarcis muralis attracted by the victim's frantic buzzing).