Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Crab spider on germander

with 18 comments

As I wandered around on July 10th in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 I saw some germander plants (Geum canadense) still flowering. In the one shown above, the yellowing older flowers provided good camouflage for a crab spider, which I hadn’t even noticed till I got in close to photograph the flowers. Poking around with my macro lens caused the spider to move lower on the plant, where I made the following portrait.

For both photographs I used flash, which let me stop down to f/16 for good depth of field.


I recently listened to a good conversation between Andrew Sullivan and Amy Chua, both of whom deplore and are working against illiberalism in our country.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 24, 2021 at 4:42 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Nice photograph

    Lina Jambil

    July 24, 2021 at 6:09 AM

  2. The first time I saw a crab spider was last year. I hadn’t realized it was even on the flower until after I got in the house and uploaded my images and, voila, there it was! I look for them now.

    Good eye spotting it then, and the images are cool. I like the bottom one best.


    July 24, 2021 at 8:14 AM

    • I’m surprised that not till last year did you see a crab spider. Maybe they’re not as common near you as they are here. In the second image, because I didn’t need to include flowers, I got in closer to the spider, and that may be why you favor that photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2021 at 8:28 AM

  3. I rarely hear the word ‘crabby’ any more, but the OED just informed me that the word, used to describe a disagreeable or vexing person, is rooted in the crab’s combative disposition. Oddly, I’ve never experienced the crab spider to be one bit combative. Since lurking seems to be their specialty, I often don’t realize they’re around until I look at photos on the computer. I don’t know whether some change color to match their chosen lurking spot, or if they select places where they’re going to be well camouflaged, but this one certainly found a perfect spot.


    July 24, 2021 at 8:32 AM

    • I finally identified American Germander this year. You’ve done a nice job of showing its complexity.


      July 24, 2021 at 8:35 AM

      • American germander hasn’t quite finished up here yet; in fact yesterday morning I photographed some remnants still putting out flowers at the entrance to Great Hills Park. Now that you’ve identified the species, I hope you’ll tackle the complexity of the inflorescence. A small aperture certainly helps.

        Steve Schwartzman

        July 24, 2021 at 9:36 AM

    • I don’t hear crabby much any more, either, now that you mention it, nor do I find combativeness in crab spiders, which I assume are named for their physical rather than attitudinal resemblance to crabs. I just checked Google’s ngram and found peak usage for crabby in 2012. The graph shows a marked decline since then, yet the current level is still historically high:


      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2021 at 10:15 AM

      • ‘Crabby’ was used frequently in Scotland but I think it’s one of those words that younger folk don’t tend to use – so I guess that it will die out. Sad, because it’s effective!

        Ann Mackay

        July 25, 2021 at 7:02 AM

  4. I see a little face in its abdomen!

    Eliza Waters

    July 24, 2021 at 7:16 PM

    • Yes, I’ve noticed other crab spiders that also seem to have a face on their abdomen. I wonder if that’s coincidental or if it’s designed to intimidate other creatures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 24, 2021 at 7:35 PM

      • I expect the latter, it works with lots of insects like moths and caterpillars.

        Eliza Waters

        July 24, 2021 at 7:59 PM

  5. Great camouflage Steve .. well spotted


    July 30, 2021 at 3:23 PM

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