On August 19th, Ryan and I went for a hike in Dry Canyon, located south of Logan Canyon. We did not walk too far because it was a very hot day and we wanted to take the time to search for interesting subjects to photograph.
I searched the many sunflowers along the trail hoping I would find a crab spider sitting on a flower. Crab spiders (family Thomisidae) are ambushers that do not rely on a web to catch prey. Rather, they wait for their prey in strategic places such as flowers or branches. Thomisids that choose to hunt in flowers typically catch flying insects, including bees. These spiders look like crabs because they have a relatively flat body, and two pairs of relatively long front legs. In addition, they are able to move forwards, backwards and sideways! I was able to find a tiny young crab spider sitting on a sunflower. In the picture, the two front pairs of legs are noticeably longer than the other legs.
Further up the trail, a tree leaf revealed a dictynid spider in her tangle web. I have noticed that dictynid webs usually look very messy, often containing the leftovers of previous meals. It appears that for some reason, these spiders do not care about removing the remains of their prey. Perhaps these left overs are left there because they attract other potential prey items such as flies.
I was happily surprised to find a jumping spider under a nearby leaf. This salticid, probably in the genus Pelegrina, had a dark iridescent abdomen and many white scales on the carapace. This spider had recently caught an ant, which it held in its chelicerae. When my camera got a little too close, the salticid hopped onto a small branch, still holding the ant.
On the way back down, I noticed a wolf spider (family Lycosidae) resting in a sunny spot on a boulder. This small spider with striped legs was so pale that it was difficult to notice on the background rock. Wolf spiders have four posterior large eyes arranged in two rows and a row of four small anterior eyes. Wolf spiders can be found at night by using a flashlight, because their eyes reflect the light to produce eyeshine, much like a cat’s eyes.