Spiders are fascinating creatures to observe. Among all the arthropods, they, along with the praying mantises, seem to have an uncanny ability to, in a way, interact with their observer. When you look at them, they look straight back at you, as if trying to communicate something in a very subtle way.
On and off, for a few months now, have been observing this beautiful, colorful spider and was fascinated to see most part of its life cycle unfold before me !
The individual in reference is what is commonly known as the ‘Green Lynx Spider’. From the ‘Oxyopidae’ family of spiders, the binomial name being ‘Peucetia viridana’, not to be confused with ‘Peucetia viridans’, another species of green lynx, found predominantly in USA and few areas around that region. This is a common spider found on many shrub like plants. It is not a web builder, but an ambush hunter. Have mostly seen it, in and around flowers, lying quietly in wait for an unaware prey to wander by.
Here’s one, sitting on a pink oleander flower, awaiting its prey.
Though it has spinnerets that produce silk, they use the silk as drop or drag lines to move around and also for creating their egg sacs.
Being powerful and agile hunters, they feed on a variety of insects, ranging from small bugs to sometimes even other spiders, if they are able to catch one. Owing to the fact that they feed on a lot of insects that are considered as plant pests, many treat these spiders as a good agent for pest handling. But, ironically, these spiders are not that discriminatory. They do eat a lot of beneficial insects like many butterflies, moths and honey bees.
One with a wasp kill…..
Green Lynx Spiders are considered as annual species, meaning, they live for around a year.
Was keeping tab of one female for a few days, when suddenly, she went missing. Wasn’t able to locate her for almost a week. Then, I came across a lot of stands of silk running on the underside of a leaf of one of the plants. It was kind of like tying up two nearby leaves together. Upon having a peep inside, noticed that she was sitting in there, in her new made home. She was very diligently holding on to something round and big. I realized that the round thing was her egg sac. Had seen wolf spiders carrying their big round egg sacs on their backs, wherever they went. Here, she was, sitting in one place, tightly holding on to it. She had made a safe resting place at the bottom of a leaf for her egg case. The case was secured to the corners of a couple of leaves nearby by thin strands of silk as well.
She seemed to be very protective of the same and was vigorously holding on to it and in no mood to let go. Have read that, sometimes, the females do chase away any potential threat, like ants and move their egg sacs to a new location.
Every other day, I kept coming back, to have a look if she was still there. Indeed, she was. She seemed to be sitting there all the while, holding on to the sac. Led me to wonder if she was ever leaving it out of her sight, even to feed herself. After almost 15 or 20 days, when I came to check on her, was pleasantly surprised to see that her young ones had hatched and were swarming all around her.
Teeny, tiny ones were all over the place. There were so many of them. The little lynx spider-lings were moving around on the little strands of silk that their mother had used to secure the egg sac.
They were still quite wary of their surroundings. Any kind of perceived threat, all the little ones would huddle around the egg sac, right around the gaping mouth of the sac, from where they had emerged.
They were around the now drying and dwindling egg sac for many more days, with their mother, too, very diligently, by their side. Didn’t seem like the mother was bringing in food of any kind to her little ones. However, she seemed to stick around, may be as a way of offering protection for her young.
One fine day, she decided that it was time and her job was done. It was for her young ones to tend for themselves now and she left. Slowly, by the day, the little ones started dispersing and after a few days, all that was left was a few broken strands of silk and the withering egg sac hanging down by one fine silk thread
The duties of one was over and the life cycle of the many others had just begun.