Subject: spider on black swallowtail
Geographic location of the bug: Auburn, California
Time: 01:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I thought this was a cool image of a spider incapacitating a black swallowtail. This was along a trail, near the flowers the butterfly was feeding on. Maybe a crab spider? Enjoy!
How you want your letter signed: k. cassidy
Dear k. cassidy,
This is an awesome image. We agree that this is a Crab Spider. Crab Spiders do not build webs to snare prey. Many species, especially pastel colored, pink, yellow or white Crab Spiders, are camouflaged in blossoms where they wait to ambush pollinating prey like bees and butterflies. Your Swallowtail is actually a Pipevine Swallowtail. Did you witness the Crab Spider capture the Pipevine Swallowtail? If not, was the Swallowtail still alive when you encountered this awesome Food Chain illustration, though interestingly, this is not the first time we have received documentation of a Crab Spider eating a Pipevine Swallowtail.