Thursday, July 19, 2007

Spiders and a fly

I came across this crab spider [also known as a Flower spider] Misumena vatia. They are quite interesting creatures and often well camouflaged and easily missed. They move in a crab-like way which gives them the name 'crab spider'

Usually they are yellow or white [sometimes with red marks on the abdomen] and live on white or yellow flowers.
They don't spin webs, they lie in wait for their insect prey to visit their home flower.

They change colour by manufacturing a yellow pigment that migrates to the outer layers of the body.
If a yellow spider moves to a white flower, it will gradually lose its yellow pigment over about a week. A white spider moving to a yellow flower takes about 2 to 3 weeks to turn yellow.

This is an old spider cocoon egg- I'm not sure which type of spider made this. I saw it when i visited the nature park above Eze.
It looks a lot like a poppy seed case, except made of spider silk.

When it was first made, it would have contained an egg sac. The sac would have been filled with spider eggs and these would have hatched into hundreds of baby spiders.
The silk used for cocoons and eggs sacs is stiffer than the silk used for making webs.
This is the passageway that goes from the end of Cours Saleya in Vieux Nice towards Quai des Etats-Unis and the sea. I noticed a little fly made of mosaic tiles the other day, high up on the column supporting the roof.

I imagine this mosaic graffiti is by the same folk who have been putting up the space invader mosaics , but this time its a fly with mirror tile eyes. Not the best photo, I'm afraid but its high up and the light isn't brilliant there.
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