An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

November 4, 2010

Ramona and the Bee Eater

Last week I visited the garden of some friends and was mildly surprised to see their Ramona Clematis in full bloom and being very photogenic. As I neared to take a picture I noticed what I first thought was some sort of bizarre looking honeybee with fuzzy black legs. Closer inspection showed it was a bee being carried by a Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax). This is a fairly common spider who hunts among lovely blossoms for its next meal. The Jumping Spider does not use a web to catch its prey, but is a stalk and ambush predator. They do produce silk, though it is used to for egg laying, to hid in and as a safety line when travelling from one place to another. I am not sure why, but it never occurred to me that a bee could be prey, but I guess a brave little spider has to do what it has to do. Such drama in the garden.

Phidippus audax, Daring Jumping Spider (3)


Phidippus audax, Daring Jumping Spider (4)

15 comments:

  1. These are wonderful photos. The details you captured are amazing.

    Some people react so negatively to spiders (and images of spiders) that they never see what beautiful creatures they are. I usually lose subscribers when I post spider pictures.

    I think you're especially brave to post these right after your Indiantown story. Folks will start calling you "Les the Macabre."

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  2. Les,
    Very cool photos! Jumping spiders are the coolest spider imo.

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  3. Yikes indeed! Great series. I love your photos.

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  4. Great photos. I feel sorry for the honeybee but spiders have to eat too. Green Lynx Spiders take a lot of bees too.

    I know what you mean about thinking it's usually the other way around. We have a lot of dirt daubers and they haul spiders to their nests.

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  5. As always the quality and depth in your photos make me fee like I was there seeing it with my own eyes, only better!

    Our common garden spiders catch an amazing amount of bees in their webs, I wouldn't have thought it possible but I've seen it with my own eyes. Maybe it's just a numbers game as there are times you can't walk a foot in the garden without coming in contact with a web.

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  6. Cool images. I see a fair number of bees caught by spiders (in webs) also.

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  7. I never thought of bees as prey, either. I'll have to keep my eyes open. Interesting blog!

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  8. Great photos Les. Keep up the good work.

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  9. Incredible how nature works, I never heared about this type of spider and amazing how it can catch it's victims like this without using silk. Nice photos illustrating the technique of this spider.

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  10. Nice shots, Les. The second one looks like a wrestling match, albeit a high-stakes one for the bee.

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  11. Les,
    Very cool photographs! Thanks for commenting on my High Line post. For some reason, it won't transfer onto my blog. Not sure why? Wave Hill is definitely worth checking out on another trip to NYC.

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  12. Les if your bees have been as sluggish as our bees of late then it was an easy catch, no contest. In the last couple weeks bees have attached themselves to me walking through the garden. I think they are wandering off to die.

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  13. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment.

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