Yellowstone Reports

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Goldenrod Spider

by Dan Hartman

Aug. 9, 2022

     Goldenrod spiders are masters at changing colors according to their environment.  Meaning, if they're hanging out on a white flower, they turn white, yellow or darker flowers, they change to yellow.  This change does not occur instantly and may even take several days.  So the little spiders usually stay on the same flower for quite some time.

     The spiders like to prey on insects on sunny days when the pollinators are most active.

     Our yard, which is basically a field of wildflowers, exploded with colors last week.  That attracted butterflys, bees, flys and many other insects I could not even identify.  After some searching, Cindy and I found four goldenrod spiders.  Two yellow and two white.

     Day after day I set up on the spiders, filming their hunting tactics and captures.  I had to adjust the cameras every twenty minutes so basically was busy all day for a solid week.  Some of my best sequences were shot just before dusk, when the bees became very active.

     Many times, I wouldn't witness the stalking and captures until I viewed the footage later.

     One sequence showed the yellow spider perched on the same colored center of a wild rose.  When a bee landed and made its' way to the flowers center, the spider stood motionless holding its' crab like front legs high and out stretched. When the bee got a half inch from its' hidden ambusher, the spider exploded forward and down sinking its jaws into the bees head, ingesting it with a numbing poison that somewhat paralized the larger bee in seconds.

     The next morning, I was watching when the spider finished feeding and dropped the now shell of a bee to the ground.

     This was the only bee I witnessed the spiders killing.  Once I did film a bee actually fight off a goldenrod.

     Mostly, the spiders captured flys, ants and smaller prey.

     Our daughter, Kelly, visited a couple days and got excellent spider photos on a walk in to Yellowstone.  One of a goldenrod with a moth, easily 5 times its' sizae


View slide show

Goldenrod Spider

Goldenrod Spider With Moth

Goldenrod Spider With Fly

Goldenrod Spider on Sticky Geranium

Goldenrod Spider