Imperfect but effective crypsis and flower-visiting strategy in a crab spider
Crab spiders are renowned sit-and-wait predators and provide an ideal model for studying animal camouflage. It is widely acknowledged that these spiders exploit flowers of matching hues to deceive their prey. However, there is a pressing need for broader investigations encompassing the camouflage of crab spiders with non-uniform body colors to predators and their flower visiting strategies during ontogeny. To investigate these questions, we conducted behavioral experiments and avian visual modelling using the crab spider Ebrechtella tricuspidata, who exhibite distinct abdomen and carapace colors, and juvenile spiders have been reported to appear significantly more frequently on chamomile flowers (Matricaria recutita) compared to the females. Our findings demonstrated that distinct local body part did not significantly impact overall concealment, suggesting that camouflage may be widespread in flower-visiting spiders. Furthermore, juvenile spiders experienced lower predation risk compared to females. This suggests a potential shift in the flower-visiting strategy, where the increasing predation risk leads to a decreased presence of spiders on flowers as they mature during ontogeny.
Frontier Projects of Applied Foundation of Wuhan Science and Technology Bureau
Special Foundation for the National Science and Technology Basic Research Program of China
State Key Project of Research and Development Plan