Hey there, Hive!
Spiders are difficult to come by until it starts warming up again like it's doing now. This not-so-little species is from a family of spiders that are often featured here on the HIVE blockchain. The family Oxyopidae, commonly called Lynx spiders.
These spiders are agile and avid hunters, excellent at what they do, and graceful. They're also great at camouflage, and blend almost seamlessly into their environment.
The strong and prominent setae (also referred to as spines) on their legs can make them look vicious and terrifying, but only if you're an insect. They assist the lynx spider in hunting.
• PEUCETIA TRANSVAALICA•
I don't often see lynx spiders, but they're always a welcome sight when I do. This photo above is of a male I found, and the photo of the female below was one I spotted over a year ago. That's how infrequently I find lynx spiders.
So far, I've only come across three other species of lynx in my area: another species of Peucetia, and two different Oxyopes sp. They're not as diverse a family over here, which is surprising. Then again, they're excellent at hiding so perhaps I've just overlooked them. I'll have to go through and do some bushwhacking to see if that's the case.
Either way, of the 2 genera, the Peucetia lynx spiders are by far the largest of their family that I've come across, here and else where. They are rather leggy, too, which makes them seem even bigger.
• GENUS •
The Transvaal green lynx spider looks a lot like other green lynx spiders found around the world, though they're from different genera. Peucetia spiders in general are also easy to misidentify as other genera in South Africa, namely Oxyopes.
The key differences that sets Peucetia apart lie in the colour of the spiders. Unlike Oxyopes, the green lynx spider's colour is more solid and vibrant, often more consistent in shade, except for the markings.
Peucetia transvaalica, further, has a thinnish and long abdomen with thin and long legs. Identifying which species this green lynx is was as simple as checking which species have been recorded in South Africa and in my area specifically, then going through the descriptions to see which fit, if any.
The description of P. transvaalica fit absolutely with the green lynx I found here. Especially the white around the eyes.
• DESCRIPTION •
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infra-Order: Araneamorph (true spiders)
- Family: Oxyopidae
- Genus: Peucetia
- Species: P. transvaalica
About 20mm in body length. Leg span of approximately 45mm diagonally.
Plain green carapace with faint dark spots. White "cap" marking surround all the eyes. Clypeus unmarked, plain green, with plain green chelicera.
Mostly plain bright green abdomen with a darker green stretched oval marking with yellow marking anterior, bordered by a white stripe, on the dorsal centre. Abdomen long and tapering toward spinnerets.
Legs and pedipalps brownish with green tint with dark, reddish spots ventrally and a reddish line ventrally down femurs. Strong, prominent, dark setae on all segments except trochanter.
As in female excepting the tarsi of the pedipalps being swollen and dark and the abdomen is thinner. Male and female are around the same size.
• ABOUT THE GENUS •
Peucetia are called Green Lynx spiders because their overall colour is just that, though the shade of green varies with each species. Along with the green, they also have yellow, red, and black for markings. They're commonly found in grass and leaves where they can blend in and hide best.
Some species of Peucetia can actually change colour to match their surroundings, some faster than others, but nonetheless an impressive ability 1.
The genus is divided between the species that have what are called clypeal lines and those that don't. Clypeal lines are markings on the clypeus, which is the area on the cephalic or "head" area between the eyes and the chelicera. P. transvaalica falls into the group that do not have clypeal lines.
• NOTES •
Both the male and the female I came across were timid spiders. Even when brushed, they seemed reluctant to move. Perhaps it's part of their camouflage techniques to not move, so as to not alert a possible predator that there is indeed something there. Lynx spiders are among the smartest spiders, so this is possible.