Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moth and Spiders

I was looking for spiders on some Orange Coneflowers growing outside my barn when I spotted this moth. At first glance it looked more like a wasp than a moth. This is the Eupatorium Borer Moth, Carmenta bassiformis, which uses the Ironweed as a host plant. The moth larvae feed on the roots and the inside of the stem. Maybe this is what the Downy Woodpeckers have been searching for in the Ironweed stalks.

The moth was taking quite a risk nectaring on these particular flowers. On the next flower over was this attractive Crab Spider. Quite hard to see against the dark yellow of the flower. Here it will perch until a likely insect happens by. Then those long legs will reach out and grab the prey.

This is the view an approaching insect would get. Nothing menacing here.

On the next flower is this handsome fellow with attractive maroon markings.

It just looks like part of the flower from this angle.

A smaller specimen. I don’t think this little guy would have been a threat to the moth.

A second small spider waits for a meal. Out of twelve flowers, four were inhabited by spiders. That makes the odds one in three that a feeding insect could be landing on the dinner table. Flowers like this seem to be favorites of the yellow Crab Spiders. I don’t think I’ve checked any group of these flowers and not found some spiders.

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