Lynx spider

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Lynx spiders
Oxyopes salticus Kaldari 02.jpg
Male striped lynx spider (Oxyopes salticus) showing leg bristles and characteristic profile
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Superfamily: Lycosoidea
Family: Oxyopidae
Thorell, 1870
Genera

Hamataliwa
Hostus
Megullia
Oxyopes
Peucetia
Pseudohostus
Schaenicoscelis
Tapinillus
Tapponia

Diversity
9 genera, 419 species
Distribution.oxyopidae.1.png

Lynx spider is the common name for any member of the family Oxyopidae. Most species make little use of webs, instead spending their lives as hunting spiders on plants. Many species frequent flowers in particular, ambushing pollinators, much as crab spiders do. They tend to tolerate members of their own species more than most spiders do, and at least one species has been identified as exhibiting social behaviour.

Description and habits[edit]

There are several genera of Oxyopidae and they differ in their habits and adaptations. Most of them have large spiny bristles on their legs and in many species the bristles form almost a basket-like structure that may assist in confining the prey that they grasp, and protect the spider from its struggles. Most Oxyopes and Hamataliwa species are small to medium in size; they tend to be drab ambush hunters; depending to some extent on the season, some occupy flowers, ambushing pollinating insects. In this they resemble the crab spiders (Thomisidae) in behaviour. Others crouch in wait, camouflaged on plant stalks or bark. Peucetia species on the other hand, commonly are larger. They are rangy and their camouflage is vivid green, adapted to hunting or hiding among foliage.

Lynx spiders, in spite of being largely ambush hunters, are very speedy runners and leapers, alert and with good vision. Except when defending egg purses, many tend to flee rapidly when approached by predators or large creatures such as humans. They tend not to be very aggressive towards other members of their own species, and sometimes meet casually in small groups. Possibly as an extreme example, at least one member of the genus Tapinillus is remarkable as being one of the few social spiders, living in colonies with communal feeding, cooperative brood care, and generational overlap.[1]

A Peucetia female, showing the eye pattern and the "flat-faced" appearance typical of the Oxyopidae. In this species the leg bristles are only moderately developed.

Oxyopidae in general rely on keen eyesight in stalking, chasing, or ambushing prey, and also in avoiding enemies. As with many other families of spiders, the arrangement of their eyes is typical of the family and is an important aid in identifying them as members of the family. Six of the eight eyes of Oxyopid spiders are arranged in a hexagon-like pattern, more or less on a prominent hump on the front upper corner of the prosoma. The other two eyes are smaller, less conspicuous, and generally are situated in front of and below the other six. The basal parts of the chelicerae of most species are large, vertical and parallel, which combine with the bluff front end, a "high forehead" to the prosoma, to give most species a peculiar "flat-faced" appearance.

Genera common in the United States include Oxyopes — the common lynx spiders — and Peucetia — the green lynx spiders.

Some members of the genus Oxyopes are abundant enough to be important in agricultural systems as biological control agents. This is especially true of the striped lynx spider (Oxyopes salticus). Their net value in agriculture has been disputed however, on the grounds of their predation of pollinators.[2]

Peucetia viridans also is unusual among spiders in that females defending their egg purses will spray or "spit" venom at intruders, including humans.[3]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aviles, Leticia : Social behaviour in a web-building lynx spider, Tapinillus spp. (Araneae, Oxyopidae) (1994) Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 52 (2), pp. 163-176.
  2. ^ Weems, H. V. Jr. and Whitcomb, W. H. Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans (Hentz) (Arachnida: Araneae: Oxyopidae). EENY-249 Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Published: November 2001. Revised March 2011 [1]
  3. ^ Fink LS. 1984. Venom spitting by the green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans (Araneae, Oxyopidae). Journal of Arachnology 12: 373-4.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]