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the web of life in southern Africa

Peucetia (green lynx spiders)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthropoda > Arachnomorpha > Cheliceriformes > Chelicerata > Euchelicerata > Arachnida > Araneae > Araneomorpha > Family: Oxyopidae (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 has been collected from Helichrysum cooperi and in the Western Cape from Bolusafra bituminosa, Senecio abruptus and Roridula dentata. Peucetia lays down silken threads along which it walks, avoiding being caught, and robs it of the trapped insects. It appears juvenile spiders jump but not the adults. Prey capture is either the easy way of removing trapped insects from glandular plants or, as reported by Rovner, it hangs from silk with the hind legs and uses the first 2 pairs to sweep in prey,. The legs with spines form a capture basket.

Peucetia, as its common name implies, is green with the spider having the ability to change colour to a yellowish-green to match faded vegetation or even pinkish-red infusions on green to blend with its environment. The integument is free from setae with only a few white setae in the ocular area. The cephalic area and long chelicerae presents a narrow oval face often with pinkish-red or black striations running from the anterior median eyes down the chelicerae and from below the posterior lateral eyes. Lateral striations may be present running onto the chelicerae. The abdomen is patterned with dorsolateral white or yellow lines or spots and an anterior dorsal ragged cross marking which varies from distinct to indistinct. The long legs, with prominent bark-brown coloured erect spines, are usually lightly to heavily spotted in black with the spots forming a black coalescence (blotches). These body markings and spotting can aid species identification. Peucetia is the largest of the Oxyopids with a size range of 7-25mm body length.

Peucetia hangs under her round spiky egg case which contains up to 600 eggs, protecting it against intruders. She does not eat once the yellow bodied spiderlings have hatched out and dies shortly afterwards.

Name probably refers to "Peuceti" from a region in Calabria (Italy - where the "toe" is).

Text by Norman Larsen .