| Misumena vatia (Clerck, 1757)|
| Taxonomical Classification: Animalia / Arthropoda / Arachnida / Araneae / Thomisidae |
| Goldenrod Crab Spider Maltese name not known|
| Further Information: |
This is a species of crab spider found throughout the northern continents of the world, from North Africa to Scandinavia.
Young males in the early summer may be quite small and easily overlooked, but females can grow up to 10 mm (excluding legs); males reach 5 mm at most. The carapace of males can be red to reddish-brown (pale or dark) with a white spot in center going to eyes and clypeus. First two pairs of legs are reddish brown, the others yellow. Abdomen has pair of dorsal and lateral red bands on a white background. The female is larger and have a white to yellow carapace with darker sides. Eye area often tinged with red. Abdomen same color as carapace, sometimes with no markings, but otherwise with a red band on both sides. Legs are light colored.
These spiders have the ability to change color by secreting yellow liquid pigment into the outer cell layer of the body. On a white base, this pigment is transported into lower layers, so that inner glands, filled with white guanine, become visible. If the spider dwells longer on a white plant, the yellow pigment is often excreted. It will then take the spider much longer to change to yellow, because it will have to produce the yellow pigment first. The color change is induced by visual feedback; spiders with painted eyes (so as they are blinded) were found to have lost this ability.
The color change from white to yellow takes between 10 and 25 days, the reverse about six days. The yellow pigments have been identified as kynurenine and 3-hydroxykynurenine
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