Crab Spiders and Prey



Blogpal Carol, who is in warmer, more tropical climes of SA than I am, recently posted some rather special photographs of  a Flower Mantis hunting a honey bee. Pop over, to her spot. Flower Mantids are spectacular and they deserve a look.

Anyway, she made mention of the flies that were attracted to the kill and in our ensuing conversation I mentioned that these were likely Jackal Flies.

In the time I have been photographing the insects at our spot the only time these flies turn up to a Crab Spider kill is when the spider takes a honey bee, and they invariably turn up soon after the ambush has taken place.

I have a great many photographs of Crab Spiders taking other prey: from different species of bees to flies, hoverflies and I have one photo of a spider taking a butterfly( it is featured above). None of these other ”kills” seems to attract the Jackal Fly – not going by my photographic evidence at any rate.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the honey gives off a specific chemical distress signal although I won’t swear by this. Something for any super sleuths out there.

Here are a few more photos of these flies.







  1. Such interesting pics! Its amazing that tiny crab spiders can catch relatively large prey. So interesting that the Jackal flies only turn up for the bee kills. Thanks so much for identifying these little flies.


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