This week's Sunday Spider is the Lynx spider, or Oxyopes scalaris. Oxyopes comes from the Greek language and means having sharp eyes. These spiders use their sharp-eyed vision to hunt and catch prey, sometimes jumping up to an inch into the air to catch insects in flight.
Here is a male lynx spider in my back yard, with his little "boxing gloves" pedipalps. The typical spiny legs and oval-shaped abdomen tapering to a point are visible.
This one really liked crawling around on my cyclamen blossom.
Stereotypical creepy spider pic.
Here's a female lynx spider, showing the rounder abdomen of the female.
In these pics her eyes are visible.
With a turret-like head and eyes that go around on the sides, it's easy to see why this spider is a champion hunter, gobbling up all kinds of garden and household pests.
Oxyopes scalaris is the most widespread of the lynx spiders in the United States. It occurs across the U.S. and into Mexico, with the greatest concentration in California.
This one appears to be very pregnant. (You can also see the eyes on the back of her head.) Lynx spiders are very protective of their egg sacs and will guard them avidly. Many will not eat while guarding eggs, and often die of starvation as a result.
A couple of months ago I shot some video of a mating dance between two lynx spiders in my back yard. The male was close to another spider on a lemon balm leaf and he crept up from under the leaf, waggling his pedipalps and waving his front legs to get her attention. He got closer and closer, and then . . .