One of the underrated aspects of carnivorous plant research involves the number of animals that take advantage of the plants’ insect-attracting abilities. When I first encountered Sarracenia pitcher plants in the wilds south of Tallahassee all these years ago, I regularly spotted green tree frogs camped in the pitchers, waiting for their next meal. Here in the Dallas area, I’m constantly shooing baby Mediterranean geckos out of the pitchers when I need to repot plants. I won’t even start with the orb-weaver spiders building webs in the greenhouse and continuing their dinner theater rendition of The Battle of Gorash VII with the MedGeckos. However, although I’ve seen photos of spiders pulling prey out of Sarracenia pitchers, I’d never seen it myself, and come to think of it, I couldn’t remember seeing a crab spider in Texas since I moved here.
Well, there’s always a first time. A sharp-eyed customer at Texas Frightmare Weekend spotted this little guy camped on the lid of a Sarracenia flava pitcher, and “Sid” stayed there for the entire weekend. Before you ask, he’s back in the Sarracenia pools right now, chowing down on the explosion of insects practically raining down on the plants. (Next time someone dealing with an unnaturally cold Dallas winter chirps “Oh, but at least the bugs won’t be so bad this summer, right?”, please punch that person right in the heart for me. I’m having to clear grasshoppers out of the greenhouse from where they’re eating my Buddha’s Hand citron’s foliage, thank you very much, and I suspect the insect problem is only going to get worse once summer starts.)