3. Humped Crab Spider

Flowers have inspired poets and artists since the Sumerians. For ages they have been metaphors of beauty, love, fragility, ephemeralness, etc. But a bunch of spiders have a rather more sinister use for flowers: they use them as death traps - meet the crab spiders! King among these is the Humped Crab Spider (M: Brimba Mħattba), a master of ambush that hides among petals from where it pounces on hapless insects that fly in for a snack. An added stealth feature in this spider is its ability to change colour to match the flower. The Humped Crab Spider also builds itself tents by bending petals into miniature tepees: look for these structures especially on Crown Daisies (M: Lellux). Crab spiders are so called because they hold their long front legs in open, front-facing crab-like fashion. And yes, they are harmless to people!

Text and picture Victor Falzon. Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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