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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lunch on the beach

Beach Morning Glory (Calystegia soldanella), a native perennial found growing in coastal strand areas along the West Coast.  Note the thick kidney-shaped leaves trailing over the sand.

While photographing these beautiful flowers near Dillon Beach on 11 June 2012, I noticed quite a few insects on the petals and was delighted to discover that one of the visitors was not an insect but an arachnid a tiny jumping spider!  (See left side of flower below.)

This spider was only a few millimeters long, but here are my best shots:

I couldn't see it in the field, but the photos reveal that the spider had captured an insect, perhaps a fly.  Look for the wings and legs of the prey being held by the spider. 

The spider eventually jumped off the morning glory flower and onto the beach.  It just about disappeared against the background of sand grains compare the colors of the spider with the colors of the sand in the first image.

In thinking about this little spider, I can't help imagining that crossing the beach to look for prey in a morning glory flower isn't such a bad way to enjoy lunch on the beach.

P.S.  I've been lucky so far in identifying several local salticids, but I don't have a guess on this one yet.  If you do, let me know!

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