I photographed this spider in my parents garden in S.France last year but seem to be unable to i.d. it - every search for red and black spider always comes back as widow / false widow but never with this colour configuration. I am very curious to know more about this species please. Many thanks for your help.
This beauty is Synaema globosum a type of Crab Spider (Family: Thomisidae). As a group crab spiders do not catch their prey using webs but lie in wait and ambush unsuspecting invertebrates by grabbing them with their powerful front legs once they are within range. This species does so by sitting in flowers and it can change colour to some extent depending on the flower it has taken a fancy to. We have a species with a very similar strategy in the UK, commonly called the Flower Crab spider, Misumena vatia - see here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/insects-spiders/bug-forum/?q=node/182
Thank you so much, it never crossed my mind to check out the crab spiders! I am familiar with the white ones here in the UK but had never seen the red and black and given that it was taken some time ago, it was difficult to judge the scale too.
Interesting that they can change colour to blend in with the flora. Thank you, once again.