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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching up with the Green Lynx Spiders

There aren't as many Peucetia viridans gracing the shrub tops this autumn.  Maybe that is because of the vast numbers of spider hunting wasps that cruised the bushes all summer, or maybe too because of the other predator wasps sucking up more than their share of prey.  Nevertheless, I found two mature spiders today doing what lynxes do best:  catching prey.  In both cases the spider has captured a prey item that is a good flyer demonstrating that the fang can move faster than the wing. 

The first spider holds a fly, which looks like minettia flaveola a small fly I see lots of but know little about.  This one is in the process of having its innerds predigested so the spider can suck up the nutrients.  Spiders are not capable of eating solid food.

This female spider with abdomen swollen with eggs is perched in a typical spot for this species, high on a flowering shrub likely to be visited by flower-feeding insects.
Sure enough, a flower feeding wasp (Philanthus) has fallen victim to the spider's fangs.  It's kind of ironic, since this genus of wasps, known as Bee Wolves, themselves prey on bees to provision their underground nests.  This one was probably looking for food for itself, as the adults feed on nectar.  At least she died among her beloved flowers (Latin phil=love, anthus=flower)

This lynx spider will soon produce an egg sac, and I will be watching for that.  She has positioned herself right above the mailbox at the sidewalk, which could make for mail carrier drama.

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