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the web of life in southern Africa

Oxyopes (golden or grass lynx spiders)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Araneae > Araneomorpha > Family: Oxyopidae (lynx spiders)

The name lynx spider best relates to the genus Oxyopes, derived from the Greek "oxys" means "quick" and "pesos" means "footed" with reference to the spiders fleet footedness. The golden or grass lynx spider, has 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 flying insects. All the prey is caught with the legs used as a basket, the spines assisting in detection and capture. Oxyopes attaches a dragline as it moves from point to point similar to the family Salticidae (jumping spiders) and is a major predator of insects on plants good for the garden as its bite is harmless and of pest insects in agricultural crops.

Oxyopids fix their egg cases to vegetation supported by means of strands of silk. Oxyopes normally straddles her roughly spherical egg case and produces about 18-100 eggs per egg case.

Text by Norman Larsen .