I was out prowling my yard with my (formerly new, now defunct) camera looking for fun picture
when I saw this White Peacock Butterfly
apparently sipping nectar from a
Climbing Aster Flower. I froze and grabbed a picture from a distance
because I didn't have a photo of anything nectaring on that kind of
flower, and I didn't want to risk scaring the butterfly away before I
got one. Then I moved in for a closer picture:
Do you see what's wrong yet? As I clicked a few shots, I noticed a
couple of things:
- The butterfly isn't feeding - its proboscis is all
- There are too many legs, and some are clearly NOT butterfly legs!
Look: the lower legs are pointed the wrong way.
- The White Peacock Butterfly should have flown away as I got in really close for
the last photographs, but it didn't move. We have lots of clues that
something is going on. Let's get a closer look:
The last time I ran across a similar situation with a butterfly
hanging from a flower but acting wrong, an ambush bug
was eating it.
These legs were absolutely not ambush bug legs! A closer look from the
other side revealed a spider
, but it was
under the flower, so I plucked the branch, butterfly, spider, and all, and
brought it to the porch for a little photo shoot where I had a chair and
a bit of shade.
The spider kept
walking away with the butterfly (strong little sucker!), so I finally
gave up and put it in a bug box to finish eating (the butterfly was
Now the spider has let go of the
butterfly, but I haven't quite figured out how to take pictures of it
without having it leave, or possibly bite me. I'll make
page or two on this
spider when I figure that out.
, there are 41 species of Misumena
spiders. I couldn't be sure
because I couldn't find pictures of all the others to compare mine to,
and I don't have keys to these spiders.
What do you think spider is, besides full of dissolved butterfly?
Update: Thank you Bill Kern for the spider species answer: Misumenops celer.