Chameleon-like spider found in Poringland garden

White Spider. Pic: Matthew Byatt. White Spider. Pic: Matthew Byatt.

Peter Walsh
peter.walsh@archant.co.uk
Monday, June 23, 2014
6:53 AM

First it was a pink grasshopper that was turning heads – and now it is a white spider.

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After a reader contacted the EDP with his photograph of a grasshopper he had seen in the wild in shocking pink, another has been in touch to share his image of an insect displaying striking colours.

Matthew Byatt found this brilliant white spider while dead-heading roses in the garden of his home in Poringland, near Norwich.

Mr Byatt, 44, director of construction contractors Pinnacle, based on the Broadland Business Park, said: “I spotted something weird in one of the roses and took a closer look.

“Imagine my surprise when I saw a totally white spider. I grabbed a camera and took a photo or two. I’ve nevrr seen one like that before.

“Not wanting to disturb it I then left it alone.”

The father-of-two said he and his 10-year-daughter went days later to see if they could find the arachnid and noticed it still on the same rosebush where it had captured an unsuspecting hover fly.

Philip Collyer, from the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society, identified the insect as female crab spider (Misumena vatia), which are able to change their body colour to match their background.

It can take a few days, but they can appear white, yellow or green.

“They sometimes have two faint red lines running along the abdomen, but these are not always visible. The male is much smaller than the female.”

He said although it was common in the south of the UK it was “perhaps noticed less than it should be” because of its “cryptic colouration”.

The crab spider, which can be up to 10mm long, sits on flowers waiting for insects to land close by, and then pounces on them – trapping them between their crab-like front legs.

The pink grasshopper was spotted by Chris Jarvis, coincidentally, in nearby Arminghall.

Experts identified it as a nymph of the common green grasshoppers.

Have you got a wildlife story for us? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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