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Brief Summary

    Lynx spider: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    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.

    Brief Summary
    provided by EOL authors

    The spider family Oxyopidae (lynx spiders) includes 447 described species (Platnick 2013), 18 species of which occur in North America north of Mexico (Brady and Santos 2005). Lynx spiders have a distinctive appearance, although they could be confused in the field with salticids because they occur in some of the same general habitats and exhibit similar jumping behavior. They have an extremely high clypeus and tall chelicerae. The eight eyes are arranged in a distinctive pattern: The anterior median eyes are small, but behind them the remaining six eyes are spread out in a hexagonal shape at the top of the head region. The legs are armed with numerous long, stiff, and conspicuous spines. The abdomen often tapers gradually to a point at the posterior (rear) end. (Bradley 2013)

    Brady and Santos (2005) provide an overview of the distribution of lynx spiders in North America north of Mexico: Oxyopes salticus is found from southern Canada to northern Argentina and is frequently associated with disturbed habitats or agroecosystems (Young and Lockley 1985). Oxyopes scalaris is widespread throughout the United States and southern Canada. The remaining species of Oxyopes and Hamataliwa occur in the southern tier of states, with a few of these species reaching northern California and Virginia along the west and east coasts and southern Kansas in the middle of the continent. North American Peucetia are found from the southern United States south to northern South America (Brady 1964; Santos and Brescovit 2003). These three North American genera--Oxyopes, Hamataliwa, and Peucetia—occur around the world, but especially in the tropics and subtropics (Platnick 2013).

    Most Oxyopes species occur in tall grass and herbaceous vegetation. Oxyopes scalaris and Hamataliwa are most often found on woody shrubs and trees. Peucetia prefer tall grass and especially woody shrubs such as Wild Buckwheat (Erigonium fasciculatum) and Dog Fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium). Peucetia viridans and Oxyopes salticus have been reported to be common in agroecosystems and have been suggested as biocontrol agents to control insect pests (Young and Lockley 1985; Nyffeler et al. 1992). (Brady and Santos 2005)

    Lynx spiders are "sit-and-wait" predators, but have also been reported to stalk their prey like cats. Although they lack leg scopulae (distinctive hair tufts), the long spines on the front legs function as a sort of "basket" to aid in prey capture. Their characteristic darting movements and tendency to jump repeatedly when disturbed help make lynx spiders generally easy to recognize in the field. They are capable of running and jumping rapidly through dense vegetation when alarmed. (Brady and Santos 2005)

    Very little is known about the reproductive behavior of lynx spiders, except that Peucetia males attach a resinous mating plug to the female after copulation (Ramirez et al. [2009] found that these plugs do not necessarily prevent remating). Egg cases are hung within a mesh of silk in Peucetia and are fixed over leaves or twigs in Oxyopes and Hamataliwa. (Brady and Santos 2005)

    Work by Taylor and Pfannenstiel (2008) added the lynx spiders to the growing list of spider families known to include plant nectar in their diets. Vasconcellos-Neto et al. (2007) reported that Peucetia lynx spiders tend to be associated with plants bearing glandular hairs, at least in part because their foraging success may be augmented on these sticky surfaces; the plants can also benefit from this association due to the spiders' effective control of herbivores (Romero et al. 2008).

    The delineation of Oxyopidae was well established long ago and Brady and Santos (2005) briefly summarize current understanding of the family's phylogenetic position in the spider tree.

Comprehensive Description

    Lynx spider
    provided by wikipedia

    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

    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]

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    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

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      Oxyopes quadrifasciatus are member of the family Oxyopidae. Photo taken in Dahod.

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      Lynx spider, Dahod

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      Oxyopes sp.

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      Lynx spider, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

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      Lynx spider preying on a housefly

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      Male Oxyopes salticus, 4 mm. North Carolina.

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      The lynx spider, Oxyopes species with prey at Dehra Dun, India

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      Oxyopes scalaris, Western Lynx Spider

    See also

    References

    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.