Saturday 3 June 2017

The Killing Field

A recent visit to the orchard revealed plenty of hunters and prey.

A Crab Spider with a bee.
The crab spider is Xysticus sp. The bee looks like a Megachilidae of some sort. The flower is a Field Scabious Knautia arvensis.

Dead butterflies.
Another crab spider, this time Misumena vatia, who has clearly been going through the Common Blue Polyommatus icarus butterflies at a rate of knots. There are the remains of two on the ground and it has a third on the Common Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus flowers.

I suspect that the orchard's resident Brown Hare Lepus europaeus is no more. Red Fox Vulpes vulpes maybe?

Another crab, another megachilid.
 This is a male Hoplitis sp bee. The crab spider seems to be Xysticus sp again. The plant is Lucerne Medicago sativa.

Pigeon feathers.
 I expect these are Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus feathers, killed by a domestic cat perhaps.

Yet another crab, this time with a fly.
The crab spider is Misumena vatia again, the flower Field Scabious again. The fly is a female parasite fly Cylindromyia auriceps.

Note: This post has been updated to correct the identification of some species.


chm said...

Do crab spider weave any web or do they just sit in flowers waiting for preys?

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Gory but great pictures. We regularly have piles of bird feathers!!! We have just bought two cat scarers in an attempt to make them go elsewhere. Else it might be a case of a picture 'Homosapien with a cat in its grip'!!

Le Pré de la Forge said...

The hare's hair there is all balled up.... looks more like the result of a good grooming session to me.....

Susan said...

They just lurk in the flowers, no web, and the white one can change colour a certain amount to match its background.

Susan said...

Yes, the presence of cats really makes a difference to the garden wildlife. I've noticed how little we get and how much they disturb the birds since the ferals moved in next door.

Susan said...

That would be good if it was the hare itself, just getting rid of winter fluff.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

I've been doing that to the cats all week.... handfulls of the stuff!

Ken Broadhurst said...

I read that some species of these spiders, at least, spin threads on leaves and flowers to catch insects. I often see the white crab spiders on sureau (elderberry) flowers. There was one in the photo of such a flower head that I posted a few days ago.

Susan said...

The two species above are in the family Thomisidae, which don't use silk strands to catch prey, only to make protective covers for their eggs and maybe sometimes to descend from a plant.

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