I love looking at the tiny creatures that live in the back yard. Their world is lovely. Mine isn't always so lovely, so I enjoy the brief respite of visiting theirs. And on my visit today, I saw this little guy in the spearmint.
He's a crab spider, probably genus Xysticus. They are called crab spiders because they resemble crabs, with flat bodies and two front pairs of legs angled outward. Also, like crabs, these spiders can move sideways and backwards with ease.
Crab spiders do not build webs to trap prey, but instead are hunters and ambushers. They wait, well-camouflaged, on flowers, bark or leaf litter, where they grab visiting insects. Their strong venom makes it possible for them to successfully attack insects much larger than themselves.
Although they prey on insects such as butterflies, bees and flies, as well as other arthropods, male crab spiders have also been found sometimes to feed on nectar.
This particular one tried to ambush a pillbug over twice his size but retreated hastily after a brief skirmish. The pillbug hardly seemed to notice, trundling along as if nothing happened. I wish I had composure like that!