Thomisus onustus: Crab Spiders eating and mating on Cyprus

Subject: Crab Spider with Flesh Fly in Cyprus
Location: Nicosia (Lefkosia), Cyprus
December 6, 2013 2:49 pm
Seems the site submissions might have slowed down a bit so thought I would send you a two-part submission of the same beautiful yellow lady spider on different days back last February (though mistakingly the pictures are titled with 0212 it was 0213).
The first day she had captured what I believe is a flesh fly (which I know because of this site).
What I find amazing is she’s not holding on with her legs.
So, the question is, is there a name for this crab spider?
Part two coming in a moment.
Signature: Curious Girl

Crab Spider Eats Fly
Crab Spider Eats Fly

Subject: Crab Spider with Mate in Cyprus
Location: Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus
December 6, 2013 2:56 pm
Hi Again Daniel!
This is the second part showing the Beautiful Yellow Crab Spider on her flower in the first picture. But when I looked closely at her I realized she had additional legs encircling her. That’s when I realized she was being courted and I took a lot of pictures (so I have more if you want them). The little guy was all over her, as can be seen in the second picture.
Really amazing the size difference. On the flower next to her too was at least one other gentleman I guess hoping for a chance but not willing to get on the flower yet. I have some pics of him too.
Signature: Curious Girl

Crab Spiders Mating
Crab Spiders Mating

Dear Curious Girl,
Thanks for waiting until our number of submissions declined.  North American winter is our slowest time of the year for identification requests, but that is also the time the Australian, South African and other southern hemisphere submissions peak, but there are not nearly as many as we get during the summer.  Most of our northern hemisphere submissions at this time are for carpet beetles and other household intruders.  Your photos are awesome.  We cannot confirm that the prey is a Flesh Fly, and though your photos say it all, we would love to be able to provide you with a species name for this lovely Crab Spider in the family Thomisidae.  The knobs on the abdomen are quite distinctive, and if this species is like others in the family, color is not an accurate identifying feature as many Crab Spiders are colored so they blend in with their surroundings, which your photos graphically illustrate.  We found a similar looking individual posted to PBase and again her on PBase, but alas, there is no species ID.  There is another unidentified image on TrekNature.  We wonder if this might be the Goldenrod Crab Spider ,
Misumena vatia, which according to Animal Diversity Web, is found in Europe as well as North America.

Crab Spiders Mating
Crab Spiders Mating

Correction Update:  December 8, 2013 7:44 am
I saw the pictures of the yellow Thomisidae spider of which you say it might be Misumena vatia. Of course I am no specialist at all, only generally interested in insects and spiders, but I have seen several Misumena vatia females here in Europe (Germany and other countries) and not one had these two tubercles (if this is the right word). I understand that such tubercles occur in genus Thomisus, and I found a picture of a spider that is similar to those posted by “Curious Girl”, identified as T. onustus:
Kind regards, Erwin
Signature: Erwin Beyer

Thanks so much for the correction Erwin.  It is greatly appreciated.  Nick’s Spiders of Britain and Europe has some wonderful photos showing various color variations on Thomisus onustus, including a yellow form, and they all have the bumps on the abdomen.  Encyclopedia of Life also pictures a yellow individual that closely resembles the spider photographed by Curious Girl.

Curious Girl Writes Back
Ah well, you snooze you lose :~)
I was going to reply to tell you that I had found the spider name. Of course I needed to be reminded, or prompted by you but, I’ve found if I look up insects of Greece that many of those found on Cyprus will be revealed as they share a similar zoology (?). So, I had found Thomisus onustus as the genus name but the common English name is Heather Spider. Not all that different from Goldenrod.
Ironically, just before I left on my big travel adventure I randomly found a Goldenrod Crab Spider in my bed. An odd place for her I thought. I had seen pictures of them and found them fascinating so hoped to find one someday but really was not expecting one where I found her. That one was white with the pretty pink bands.
Seems the Heather Spider can be yellow (as we see) white, pink, and even partly green.
I wonder though if you noticed that not only does she happened to have what appears to be pollen on her pedipalps but also that her silk seems very yellow as well. She’s also missing a front leg on her right side.
Seems the little ones will eat pollen and nectar if they can’t capture prey. Might help them with their color change miracles.
Good job to Erwin on identifying the spider, and maybe he can find an identification for the wasps from Germany I sent in last year. :~)
Oh, and thank you for the compliments on my pics. When I get the others ready I’ll send a few more to you (if you’d like).

Oh, and the Encyclopedia of Life link has the common Portuguese name for the spider which is “Aranha-florícola-de-tubérculos” which makes me happy because Portugal is my favorite place in the world. This leads to a great picture of a spider guarding her egg-sac.


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