Male striped lynx spider Oxyopes salticus, from Kaldari.

Belongs within: Amaurobioidea.

The Oxyopidae, lynx spiders, are actively hunting spiders found living on vegetation. They may capture flying prey in midair by jumping towards it, or they may spin small webs (Jocqué & Dippenaar-Schoeman 2007). Species of the genus Peucetia are bright green in coloration; others are mostly brown.

Eye of the spider
Published 1 October 2007

Let me give you a whirlwind introduction to the lynx spiders of the family Oxyopidae (image above from Wikimedia).

Oxyopidae are one of the families of hunting spiders—that is, rather than building a web to catche prey in, they actively hunt for small insects. The name “lynx spider” is apparently supposed to refer to their sharp eyesight, though there seems to be some doubt as to just how sharp their eyesight is compared to, for instance, the jumping spiders of the Salticidae. Still, like other families of hunting spiders, Oxyopidae have all of their eyes directed more or less forward, and a sharp downwards bend to the front of the prosoma means that the four central eyes are looking straight ahead, as shown spectacularly well in the picture above from Ed Nieuwenhuys. In all the pictures above, if you look closely you may also make out the long spiny hairs sticking out at right angles from the legs that also seem to be characteristic of this family.

While they may not build webs for catching prey, female lynx spiders do use silk to protect their eggs, which they stand guard over until the eggs are well-developed.

Systematics of Oxyopidae

Characters (from Jocqué & Dippenaar-Schoeman 2007): Small to large; eight eyes present forming a hexagon occupying a small area on edge of carapace, tapetum grate-like, secondary eyes without tapetum; clypeus wide; legs with prominent setae, trochanters notched, three tarsal claws; ecribellate; entelegyne.

    |--Hostus Simon 1898JD-S07
    |--Megullia Thorell 1897JD-S07
    |--Pseudohostus Rainbow 1915JD-S07
    |--Schaenicoscelis Simon 1898JD-S07
    |--Tapinillus Simon 1898JD-S07
    |--Tapponia Simon 1885JD-S07
    |--Planoxyopes eximius Petrunkevitch 1963P92
    |--Hamataliwa Keyserling 1887JD-S07
    |    `--H. griseaTF98
    |--Peucetia Thorell 1869 [Peucetieae]JD-S07
    |    |--P. flava Keyserling 1877M-FR08
    |    |--P. formosensis Kishida 1930TYM08
    |    |--P. lampei Strand 1906J98
    |    |--P. longipesJD-S07
    |    |--P. madagascariensisJD-S07
    |    |--P. rubrigastraM-L31
    |    |--P. rubrolineata Keyserling 1877M-FR08
    |    `--P. viridans Hentz 1832M-FR08
    `--Oxyopes Latreille 1804 [Oxyopeae]PVD10
         |--*O. heterophthalmus (Latreille 1804) [=Aranea heterophthalma]C01
         |--O. aglossus (Chamberlin 1929)TF98
         |--O. camponis Strand 1915J98
         |--O. ceylonicus Karsch 1892K92
         |--O. gracilipes (White 1849)PVD10
         |--O. gregariusFF99
         |--O. javanus Thorell 1887T94
         |--O. lineataG20
         |--O. macilentus K. 1878R13
         |--O. ramosus (Panz. 1804)S06
         |--O. salticus (Hentz 1845)TF98
         |--O. scalarisMC02
         |--O. shwetaJD-S07
         |--O. succini Petrunkevitch 1958S93
         `--O. variegatusH04

*Type species of generic name indicated


[C01] Cambridge, F. O. P. 1901. A revision of the genera of the Araneae or spiders with reference to their type species. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 51–65.

[FF99] Forster, R., & L. Forster. 1999. Spiders of New Zealand and their World-wide Kin. University of Otago Press: Dunedin (New Zealand).

[G20] Goldfuss, G. A. 1820. Handbuch der Naturgeschichte vol. 3. Handbuch der Zoologie pt 1. Johann Leonhard Schrag: Nürnberg.

[H04] Haeckel, E. 1899–1904. Kunstformen der Natur. Bibliographisches Institut: Leipzig und Wien.

[J98] Jäger, P. 1998. Das Typenmaterial der Spinnentiere (Arachnida: Acari, Amblypygi, Araneae, Opiliones, Pseudoscorpiones, Scorpiones, Uropygi) aus dem Museum Wiesbaden. Jahrbuecher des Nassauischen Vereins fuer Naturkunde 119: 81–91.

[JD-S07] Jocqué, R., & A. S. Dippenaar-Schoeman. 2007. Spider Families of the World. Royal Museum for Central Africa: Tervuren (Belgium).

[K92] Karsch, F. 1892. Arachniden von Ceylon und von Minikoy gesammelt von den Herren Doctoren P. und F. Sarasin. Berliner Entomologische Zeitschrift 36 (2): 267–310.

[M-L31] Mello-Leitão, C. F. de. 1931. Notas sobre arachnideos argentinos. Annaes da Academia Brasileira de Sciencias 3 (2): 83–97.

[MC02] Miliczky, E. R., & C. O. Calkins. 2002. Spiders (Araneae) as potential predators of leafroller larvae and egg masses (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in central Washington apple and pear orchards. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 78 (2): 140–150.

[M-FR08] Morais-Filho, J. C., & G. Q. Romero. 2008. Microhabitat use by Peucetia flava (Oxyopidae) on the glandular plant Rhyncanthera dichotoma (Melastomataceae). Journal of Arachnology 36 (2): 374–378.

[PVD10] Paquin, P., C. J. Vink & N. Dupérré. 2010. Spiders of New Zealand: annotated family key and species list. Manaaki Whenua Press: Lincoln (New Zealand).

[P92] Poinar, G. O., Jr. 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

[R13] Rainbow, W. J. 1913. Arachnida from the Solomon Islands. Records of the Australian Museum 10 (1): 1–16.

[S93] Selden, P. A. 1993. Arthropoda (Aglaspidida, Pycnogonida and Chelicerata). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 297–320. Chapman & Hall: London.

[S06] Strand, E. 1906. Die arktischen Araneae, Opiliones und Chernetes. In: Römer, F., & F. Schaudinn (eds) Fauna Arctica. Eine Zusammenstellun der arktischen Tierformen, mit besonder Berücksichtigung des Spitzbergen-Gebietes auf Grund der Ergebnisse der Deutschen Expedition in das Nördliche Eismeer im Jahre 1898 vol. 4 pp. 431–478. Gustav Fischer: Jena.

[TYM08] Tennent, W. J., M. Yasuda & K. Morimoto. 2008. Lansania Journal of arachnology and zoology—a rare and obscure Japanese natural history journal. Archives of Natural History 35 (2): 252–280.

[T94] Thorell, T. 1894. Förteckning öfver Arachnider från Java och närgränsande öar, insamlade af docenten D:r Carl Aurivillius; jemte beskrifingar å några sydasiatiska och sydamerikanska Spindlar. Bihang till K. Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens Handlingar 20 pt 4 (4): 1–63.

[TF98] Townsend, V. R., Jr & B. E. Felgenhauer. 1998. The cuticular scales of lynx spiders (Araneae, Oxyopidae). Journal of Morphology 236: 223–231.

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