|Waving, not drowning - M. vatia in a typical posture showing the first two pairs of legs which are used to trap prey.|
|M. vatia hiding in a yellow flower. Note the elongated leg pairs I & II used for trapping prey.|
|M. vatia lurking in a flower being visited by a bee.|
Ambush specialists such as M. vatia have venom which is particularly toxic to prey such as bees, even bumblebees, which are much larger than themselves. To us they are quite attractive and engaging little spiders, but to many other invertebrates they are fearsome foes. When suitable prey arrives at a flower, the spider may do nothing for some time, or may open leg pairs I & II in preparation for attack, sometimes also making subtle realignments to ensure it is accurately facing the potential prey item. When, and only when, the prey is definitely within its grasp is the ambush launched, then once gripped it is bitten and quickly dies. Although I did not see one of these spiders attack a bee, I was lucky enough to witness a similar attack on a hoverfly - the common Marmalade Fly Episyrphus balteatus.
|After a quick snatch, the fly is bitten on the back of the neck and feeding commences.|
|Feeding may go on for some time leaving a dry husk as crab spiders have small jaws/fangs so can't mash their prey.|
|Here's lookin' at you...|
Roberts, M.J. (1995). Spiders of Britain & Northern Europe. Collins, London.