The Find-a-Spider Guide

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Lynx spider

Fact Box
Species:
Oxyopes variabilis (QM)
(or a close relative)
Family:
Oxyopidae
Body length:
female: 6 mm
male: 5 mm
Habitat:
This spider is normally found the surfaces of leaves in green vegetation but is very mobile and can easily jump onto other surfaces
Toxicity:
The toxicity of the venom of this species is unknown but probably will have no serious effects on humans, though it may cause local pain and inflammation when an accidental biting occurs
Oxyopes variabilis
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With egg sac
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With egg sac
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Female from above
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Male from above
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Front views
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Underneath male
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Another female
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Underneath female

Like other oxyopids this species tends to use its colouring as camouflage. It has the usual hexagonal eye pattern and spiny legs of oxyopids and shares their ability to jump rapidly from surface to surface.

The reason for the 'variabilis' species name is the tendency of this spider to vary so much in markings from specimen to specimen that the only way to confirm that any two specimens are both Oxyopes variabilis is to compare their genitalia with the aid of a stereo microscope. Clearly, this is not possible for the non-expert or for anyone looking at living specimens in the field. On the other hand, O. variabilis specimens generally have a white V-shaped marking on the top of the carapace. the arms of which extend forwards on each side of the eye patch. In addition, there are normally three pairs of lateral black patches on the abdomen and another pair at the rear of the carapace.

Note: This species illustrates very well how difficult and uncertain it is to try to identify most individual Oxyopes species just by looking at the surface markings. Comparing the genitalia with those of other known species is not feasible for most people but it is a more accurate way of identifying oxyopids.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Oxyopes elegans and Oxyopes species.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 5 January 2015.