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The Green Lynx Spider is found on all kinds of shrub-like plants throughout the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and the West Indies. You can find the Green Lynx Spider in woods on tall grasses and in meadows of tall wildflowers, especially on the heads of wild buckwheat. The Green Lynx Spider is a common resident in Texas Upper Gulf Coast landscapes and gardens.
The female of this impressive spider is about ½ to 5/8 inch in length, with long, spiny legs and an oblong-to-oval abdomen. The male is much smaller and slender, reaching only a half-inch. The two sexes are similar in color and pattern. This attractive spider’s body is a bright transparent green with a relatively clear cuticle.
The oxyopids or lynx spiders can be distinguished from other families by their distinctive hexagonal eye arrangements and the prominent spines on their legs. Their legs also have numerous black spots which are particularly noticeable on the femora (usually the stoutest segment of the spider’s leg; roughly equivalent to the human thigh).
Although their eyesight is not as good as that of jumping spiders, Green Lynx Spiders can see their prey up to 4 inches. The carapace (the hard upper ‘shell’ of the front part of a spider’s outer body wall) has red markings. Their eight eyes form a six-sided polygram pattern at the peaked front of the cephalothorax which is also a lime green. (The cephalothorax is first of the two main parts of the body of a spider. This part has the chelicerae with fangs attached, the pair of palps and the four pairs of legs attached to it.)
The very long, thin legs of the Green Lynx Spider are a pale green to yellow, with the aforementioned black spines and are covered with numerous black spots, particularly noticeable on the femora. Their greenish abdomen is like a pencil ending in a point with several white and red chevron-shaped markings.
The Green Lynx Spider is seen mostly in summer on shrubby vegetation, in gardens and in bushes. This arboreal spider is free ranging and can often be found sitting quietly on the tops of telegraph weeds. They wait for insects in the blooms, or on the pads, of prickly pear cactus, as its bright green color offers ideal camouflage allowing them to blend in with its environment in order to stalk its prey.
They move actively during the daytime hunting small insects, quickly darting and suddenly leaping, over low shrubs and herbs with great agility. They hunt like a cat often lying in wait, slowly approaching and then suddenly pouncing on their prey, hence the name “lynx.” Only true jumping spiders excel their precision. The Green Lynx Spider’s relatively keen eyesight is comparable to that of the wolf and fishing spiders.
Although they trail a dragline, even when jumping, the Green Lynx Spider do not use a web to capture its prey. They are an very effective—indiscriminate—predators of insects. The Green Lynx Spider preys on beneficial bugs like butterflies, honeybees, pollinating flies wasps and other nectaring insects, including many that are larger than itself. Yet, the Green Lynx Spider is of interest because of its potential use in agricultural pest management and is considered an important predator of crop-damaging insects such as harmful caterpillars.