Montana Outdoors

June 20, 2017

An unusual pair

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:25 pm

I was going to post some photos of the Baldy Mountain trail from last week, followed by some more of the 345 trail and then a bunch of wildflower species that just began to bloom. But then I ran into this unusual pair today and couldn’t resist posting a few photos of them. (My apologies to anyone who has an aversion to arachnids.)

Spotted Coralroot and yellow crab spider

Spotted Coralroot and yellow crab spider

Spotted Coralroot and yellow crab spider

Spotted Coralroot and yellow crab spider

I don’t understand exactly what the relationship is, but I see that the spider even has some of the orchid’s maroon color marking on its back. The crab spider wouldn’t leave the blossom even though I spent a half hour lying prone trying to steady the camera enough for a focused photo using both forearms, one hand and my hiking staff as a makeshift tripod with the lens only a couple of inches away from him. They must have some kind of mutually beneficial pact.

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41 Comments »

  1. Yes, they are unusual.Congrats and thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by nvsubbaraman — June 20, 2017 @ 8:33 pm

    • I have seen those spiders on many different kinds of flowers but this is the first time on an orchid.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2017 @ 8:56 pm

  2. Beautiful little orchid!
    I just found my first striped coralroot orchid on my forested property. I’ve never seen one before ever, and it is totally remarkable that it chose to ‘set up shop’ on my 4 acres of woods on the Alberta prairies!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Margy — June 20, 2017 @ 8:56 pm

    • Lucky you! You might also have the spotted ones there too. That would be great! I’ve found them both in the same general area in the past.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2017 @ 9:06 pm

  3. Excellent! These crab spiders are excellent at picking up colour, like chameleons, but I’ve never scene this shade, or such spotting. Well done, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Harold Rhenisch — June 20, 2017 @ 9:20 pm

    • I usually see a lot of crab spiders on bear grass and I was just thinking the other day that I hadn’t seen any yet this year. Now on an orchid!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

  4. Mutual admiration going on between the orchid and the spider. Interesting how the colours are so similar. Better you than me, getting that close to the spider to get the photo. I would have backed away and used the zoom – that would have been scary enough to look at close up.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 20, 2017 @ 9:23 pm

    • That’s a perfectly harmless little spider (unless you are a small insect). I suspect the spider is serving as protection for the flower, but I wonder what it gets in return.
      One year we had one who lived on a yellow tulip in a flower garden. It would move inside the blossom at night before the tulip closed for the night and move right back outside when the blossom opened the next morning.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 20, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

      • I know, I know. My arachnophobia is unreasonable. I should go into therapy for it. But I don’t mind snakes (as long as they don’t bite my dogs). That’s a cute observation about the tulip resident.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 21, 2017 @ 10:27 am

        • There are several spider that I don’t like either (ie. the Black Widow, which we do have here). I don’t mind snakes, but like you I am concerned about my dog.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 12:35 pm

          • We also have the hobo spider, and the occasional black widow (but not often found).

            Like

            Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 21, 2017 @ 8:48 pm

            • We had lots of black widows in Arizona and when I first saw one up here I assumed that it had come along in the move, but later learned that they are native here too. Haven’t seen one recently though so maybe I’ve gotten rid of them around the house. Thought I had gotten rid of all the rattlers around the house too until I found a prairie rattler next the greenhouse last summer.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

              • Oh yikes! I worry all winter that we’ll run into a rattler on our Montana trip one year.

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 21, 2017 @ 11:46 pm

                • I don’t know what the situation is in the eastern part of the state. I usually see one only every several years here.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by montucky — June 22, 2017 @ 7:15 am

                • Most times they’ve gone to den up when we get there (early Oct., but some years it has still be quite hot then, and I do worry about it. I’ve heard that there are quite a few around in the summer, especially in the badlands (which we avoid), but also in the fields.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 22, 2017 @ 7:55 am

  5. Excellent shots of the spider, Terry. I’m not a fan of spiders, especially indoors.
    Is there only one burgundy/brown spot on its back? Almost looks like a large eye in a couple of your shots.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — June 21, 2017 @ 12:46 am

    • I couldn’t tell if there was more than one colored spot. The little fellow insisted on staying tightly inside the flowers. I have one photo though the seems to show the color along the sides of the spider.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 7:57 am

  6. So enjoyable photos again. Thank You.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — June 21, 2017 @ 1:04 am

  7. Love the West. If I spent 30 minutes lying on the ground in NH I would be completely devoured by ticks. Great pics.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by windyhillx — June 21, 2017 @ 6:36 am

    • We have plenty of ticks here too. I usually put my hiking clothes right in the washer when I return from a long hike. And a lot of other insects also enjoyed my visit. It’s just a price you pay. Fortunately there has not been issues of tick-borne disease in this local area. I collect a lot of them but haven’t been bitten in years. Right now we are plagued with mosquitoes at the lower elevations and biting black flies at the high elevations.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 8:02 am

  8. In the second to the last photo, do I spy part of a winged insect body with the spider? If so, that is why it would not leave, it was with it’s food.
    Your orchid photos are beautiful!
    I love seeing orchids. Yesterday I looked for them. I did find a tiny, so easy to miss, Western Twayblade. I actually thought it was something else until I got down and looked at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — June 21, 2017 @ 9:52 am

    • You have a very sharp eye, Tammie! In another photo that I didn’t post I can clearly see the body of a bee or housefly type insect that the spider was eating. That explains why he stayed put!
      I have not see a Twayblade; perhaps I have just overlooked them. I will watch for them now.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

  9. Deadly surprise waiting for a hapless, unsuspecting, butterfly – Terrific photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — June 21, 2017 @ 10:14 am

    • I imagine they are very skillful predators. They are tiny but I sure see a lot of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 12:31 pm

  10. I’ll admit, I had to kind of skim through this one. But the orchids are pretty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — June 21, 2017 @ 3:13 pm

    • I didn’t mean to be scary, but it was an unusual sight and I had plenty of time for photos. I wish the flowers were a little larger because they are really pretty.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

  11. I wouldn’t have gotten as close to that spider as you, but it did make some very unique photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — June 21, 2017 @ 3:28 pm

    • That species of spider is very gentle and benign as far as people are concerned. They are frequently seen on wildflowers and are usually quite shy.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 4:52 pm

  12. I read once that it can take weeks for a crab spider to take on the color of the chosen flower. Maybe this one was trying to hurry the process along. You sure got some great shots, no matter the reason!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — June 21, 2017 @ 3:54 pm

    • I know it takes several days to change from yellow to white, and I imagine the other colors take even longer. One year one of them spent all summer in one of our larger flower beds and we got to see him often and follow his travels as the flower species bloomed and died.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 21, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

  13. By absolute and utter coincidence, I came across another spider photo today, and I believe yours is the same: the Goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia). The reason I’ve never seen that little marking on ours is that ours is a different species — the same basic color, but without the markings. I found this page that was very interesting — it confirms what you’ve said here about them not being dangerous at all to people.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — June 22, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

    • And if my short-term memory was better, I would have remembered to add the link!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by shoreacres — June 22, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

      • Thank you for the link! They are excellent little spiders. I’ve seen hundreds of them and on just about every species of wildflower and our domestic yellow and red tulips. I have handled just about every species of spider that I’ve ever seen including tarantulas, wolf spiders and a few black widows and have been bitten only by the daddy longlegs.

        Like

        Comment by montucky — June 22, 2017 @ 7:27 pm

  14. Stunning photos! Crisp and sharp and revealing … seems like these crab spiders are out everywhere right now. I just found a cluster of spotter coralroot the other day so I’m going to see if anyone is hiding there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sally — June 23, 2017 @ 10:38 am

  15. Great images .. that orchid is a beauty, but then so is the spider 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — June 26, 2017 @ 12:30 pm


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