I Found a Huge Green Spider in My Garden!

September 20, 2013

Ever found a large green spider in your garden? Chances are, if you're in the Los Angeles area, the spider you've found is a Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans. Here's one that NHMLA staffer, Richard Smart, found in our Nature Gardens on Wednesday:

Photo taken by NHMLA's own Spider-Woman, Cat Urban. This was perfect timing, as we desperately needed one for display in our Spider Pavilion, which opens to members today and to everyone on Sunday. As many of you know, this exhibit is a place to get up close and personal with spiders in a safe and garden-like setting. To prime visitors for the experience of walking amongst hundreds of free, web-spinning spiders (that's right, the Spider Pavilion is an immersive experience), we display about 13 spiders in enclosures in an exhibit area. This helps most people acclimate, though many arachnophobes swear this doesn't make a lick of difference. For those who are brave, they can peruse the various spiders we have collected and reared, and learn a bit about their natural history. So why did we pick this spider to display? Firstly, she's GREEN! There aren't many creatures here in Los Angeles, that can camouflage this well in our gardens. Secondly, she is a voracious and cat-like predator, hence the name. If you're lucky, you might get to see her being fed a cricket when you visit! Finally, although this spider looks fat, she is not. She is actually toting an almost fully developed egg case in her abdomen, which contains hundred of developing spiderlings! There really aren't many things cooler than coming to work and finding that a spider you've collected has laid an egg sac! So why don't you come on down and visit her and all her other spidery friends?    

(Posted by: Lila Higgins)


"The next time you see a spider that is a different color than green, just call me and I will tell you what spider it is." (commenter is age 4)

Many years ago I found my first ever Green Lynx Spider on a huge lavender dahlia blossom. I nearly plucked it off to give my cat as a treat, thinking it was one of the delicate transparent-looking members of the katydid family. It was obviously in fine ambush form as it had no visible web and held its 2 front legs spread in the air like antenna, 2 legs on each side set like insect legs, and the 2 back legs posed like hoppers. It certainly convinced me! I got my camera and took photos (the days of film) but my movements caused the spider to assume a more spidery stance. The next year I found one on a dried tomato plant leaf guarding a large beige half-inch sized egg sac that was covered with sharp looking spikes. I have not seen any in my yard since. Where I live: San Marino for over 40 yrs. In fact, most spiders are now absent from my yard, my gardens. For years we had several Golden Orb Weavers at the same time with their huge webs, but no more; then for years we had so many Jeweled Araneuses that I had to walk waving a stick from head to foot to clear a path as I went. We watched them spinning their orbs from object to object as the last light of evening faded to darkness. My husband learned to respect nature watching these beautiful, patient feats of engineering, but no more; now, even the once too plentiful "funnel," or mat-web, builders that were all over everything are nearly gone. Where? Just today I sent an email to spidersurvey@nhm.org about a new spider, a "white widow" with a large red hourglass that is proliferating around here and, as I discovered, comes out at night to build its web which it takes down before sunup. You do not know it is there. I would be grateful for a reply. Yes, We are members.

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