Misumena vatia (Goldenrod Crab Spider)
The Goldenrod Spider is a member of the crab spider family. It is best known for its ability to change its color from white to yellow in order to camouflage among flowers. The female is the one most often seen. She is either yellow or white, depending on where she is, with red streaks on her abdomen. The male is dark reddish-brown, with a whitish abdomen with dark red streaks. The male is smaller (about 1/8 inch) than the female (up to 3/8 inch). Goldenrod Spiders are found wherever there are yellow and white flowers, especially goldenrod and daisies. This is usually in a field or garden.
Goldenrod Spiders eat insects, either by hunting on the ground, or by ambushing from a flower. They especially attack bees, butterflies, and flies which visit flowers for nectar. Grasshoppers and other plant-eating insects are also frequent prey. Goldenrod Spiders have small jaws which contain venom. This venom allows them to take on animals much larger than them. Usually, the Goldenrod Spider grabs its prey with its front legs and injects the venom. It then sucks all the body fluids from its prey.
Goldenrod Spiders can walk forwards, backwards, or sideways. They do not build webs. After mating, female Goldenrod Spiders will spin a silk sac to hold eggs. This is done by folding a leaf over the eggs and wrapping the silk around it. The female usually dies before the young spiderlings hatch. They are on their own from the moment they are born.