Guess What This Itsy-Bitsy Spider is Up to on Top of a Flower

Khryss | Published 2017-07-11 07:19
Itsy-bitsy spider went up the flower's bud. When the flower blooms comes the flying bees to suck.   (Fair warning. This isn't a happy story like that nursery song I took inspiration from.) You read it right, some spiders go on top of flowers. But they're not there to pollinate, they're actually preparing for ambush. When hearing about ambushes, we usually think of a common element--surprise. Staying undetected to find the perfect timing for the attack. However, some crab spiders choose a much "flashier" strategy. Researchers from the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil focused on 68 species of crab spider in Australia, Europe and Malaysia. From this, they got genetic information and used it to create a "family tree". They found that while all of these patiently wait for their attacks, some were actually found to stay exposed and perched atop of flowers to flash some UV light--an evolutionary strategy. Why? Well, apparently, the UV light attracts bees into visiting such particular flower to pollinate. This makes the hunting strategy very effective. Also, more UV light were reflected by flower-dwelling crab spiders compared to those that aren't. However, it's still uncertain why this lures bees. One possibility, though, is that natural bright spots on flowers are "floral guides" or the ones that assist pollinators like bees on where to land. Another is that spiders' color patterns are attracting the bees says Felipe Gawryszewski, author of the study. But Gawryszewski noted that this can also be a dangerous strategy because the UV light may be able to “potentially attract more prey, but could also attract more predators.” Nonetheless, that's what food chain is for, right? So the itsy-bitsy spider successfully attacked.
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