These spiders can be distinguished from other families by their distinctive hexagonal eye arrangements and the prominent spines on their legs.
These common spiders are found in all vegetation from grasses to low shrubs to trees and are often found on flowers, ambushing pollinators.
Lynx spiders, like the feline namesake, are able to jump a distance in order to capture insect prey. They do not use webs to ensnare their prey but will trail a dragline. Although their eyesight is not as good as that of jumping spiders, lynx spiders can see their prey up to 20cm and they move quickly, are very agile and their judgement is precise leaping several centimetres into the air to catch an insect in full flight.
They are active during the day hunting insects sometimes larger than themselves. The spiny bristles are used to catch their prey and also for confining the prey they grasp, and protect the spider from its struggles. They are also common in agricultural fields where they may have potential use in pest management. Egg sacs are fastened to a twig or leaf or suspended in a web in grass tufts and are guarded by the female.
There are many species of Oxyopes (grass lynx spiders) and Hamataliwa (crowned lynx spiders)in Zimbabwe. These are often cream, yellow or brown spiders and small to medium in size. Peucetia (green lynx spiders) on the other hand are larger and normally vividly green in colour and are adapted to hunting on foliage especially of glandular plants. It is thought that several species may be limited to a single tree species.
– Dr. Moira FitzPatrick –
Curator, Natural History Museum Zimbabwe, Bulawayo