What’s happening here?

January 3, 2018 • 9:00 am

by Matthew Cobb

This photo by R Fontaine (aka @Tenfon2 on Tw*tter) contains a complex set of interactions, involving two kingdoms and two classes, with two orders within one of those classes, and two genera or perhaps species within the other. Your task is to describe them. You don’t need to use fancy latin names, but there will be extra marks for those who do. My answer will be posted at noon Chicago time.


15 thoughts on “What’s happening here?

    1. OK, I didn’t read beyond the headline.

      The spider is using mimicry to the flower on the plant to deceive the bee (hide and attack).

      There appears to be a smaller arthropod on the back of the spider (photo IQ makes this hard to tell) and I would assume that critter is either passing from bee to spider or vice versa (for parasitism? moving house? find food?) or from the plant to one or other of the other two arthropods.

      Obviously I don’t really know. 🙂

        1. Pretty sure that’s what’s going on.

          White crab spider snacking on a bee, while a male crab spider goes for the sacrifice-free mating session.

              1. That could be a varroa mite
                attached between sternites of the abdomen of the honey bee.

      1. OK, downloading and enlarging the photo, the brown critter on the back of the white crab spider appears to be another crab spider — maybe scavenging from the white spider’s meal? Maybe preying on the mite(s) on the bee?

        I think I see a parasite on the back of the bee’s abdomen. This is hard to tell from the photo IQ.

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