Flower Crab Spider on Desert Sunflower Copyright © Ryan Hertz

Flower Crab Spider on Desert Sunflower

A recent Facebook post from a friend of mine asking to identify a spider in Illinois reminded me of this time I brought in a Desert Sunflower with a stowaway. In Greenehaven, AZ back in 1997, from the desert behind the house down to Lake Powell was a blooming sea of yellow Desert Sunflower and orange Globe Mallow. I had snipped a couple flowers to display inside and later that day noticed a very well camouflaged spider.

The Flower Crab Spider has the ability to change color by secreting a liquid yellow pigment into the outer cell layer of the body. The spider itself is normally white. My friend had also brought in a Flower Crab Spider on some white flowers. This species habitat actually spans the entire Northern Hemisphere! The Desert Sunflower, however, is native to the Southwest.

Flower Crab Spider on Desert Sunflower Copyright © Ryan Hertz
Flower Crab Spider on Desert Sunflower Copyright © Ryan Hertz

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