Family: Oxyopidae (lynx spiders)
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Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata
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The family name, Oxyopidae, is derived from the Greek
meaning sharp sighted but the name for the genus for Oxyopes seems to
differ The colloquial name refers to the catlike manner of prey capture. The
family has a world wide occurrence with 3 genera found in South Africa.
Oxyopids are diurnal, arboreal (plant living) spiders
usually found on shrubs, grasses and trees, using their excellent vision to
pursue and catch prey. They are 3 clawed spiders which abandon the web-bound
life-style for a more active cursorial one. Recently, a Costa Rican species of
the genus Tapinillus has been reported to build a web. Not much is known about
the biology of our lynx spiders. Most observations have been of the odd American
or foreign species. This is an interesting family to observe and record ones
findings. Oxyopids range from small to large spiders (5–25mm). Viewed head-on,
the cephalic (head) area is high, with 6 of the 8 eyes arranged in a hexagonal
formation with a large clypeus (area below eyes to anterior edge of carapace –
[something like a large upper lip]).
Genera indigenous to southern Africa
(golden or grass lynx spiders)
Derived from the Greek "oxys" means "quick" and "pesos"
means "footed" with reference to the spiders fleet footedness. The
integument covered with yellow to grey spatulate setae giving the spider its
cryptic colour to blend in with the vegetation. Oxyopes actively
searches for prey, it stalks and often leaps from branch to leaf and finally
pouncing on its prey or leaping a few centimeters into the air to catch
Peucetia (green lynx spiders)
Peucetia is less energetic than Oxyopes
and is usually found wandering about plants in a leisurely fashion. They are
often found on plants with viscid hairs, which trap insects. Peucetia
lays down silken threads along which it walks, avoiding being caught, and
robs it of the trapped insects. Prey are also captured by hanging from silk
with the hind legs and using the first 2 pairs to sweep in prey,. The legs
with spines form a capture basket.
(dome-headed lynx spiders)
Medium spiders (4-10mm) with a squat body resembling some
genera of the Thomisidae (crab spiders).
Utilizes thomisid tactics by waiting on a branch or on bark, often mimicking
a knot, bud or thorn, then ambushes passing insects. They appear not to jump
(or only rarely) while some species are reported to be terrestrial.