More than 46,000 spider species have been documented worldwide, and each species has unique attributes, but the North American species, Peucetia viridans, is capable of impressive feats that few spiders can match. This spider species is also notable for being one of the most well-camouflaged spider species in the world, as their bright green exterior allows them to hide from predators and stake out prey within areas where vegetation is abundant. P. viridans is more commonly known as the green lynx spider, and this species is one of the most commonly Googled spider species in the US, probably because their striking appearance is often noticed by gardeners and landscapers in residential areas. While the green lynx spider is not considered a species of medical importance, it has been known to inflict bites that cause pain sensations similar to those caused by bee stings. In addition to inflicting venomous, but ultimately harmless bites, females of this species have the ability to spit venom as far as 8 inches toward any approaching threat. Case studies have described individuals suffering from severe eye irritation and temporary blindness after green lynx venom had been sprayed into their eyes.
The green lynx spider can be found in most southern states from California to North Carolina, and they are particularly abundant throughout Louisiana due to the state’s abundant vegetation, hot climate, and diversity of plant and insect species. The green lynx spider is one of the primary insect predators in grassy fields, low shrubs and in any area within their habitat where vegetation is prevalent. These spiders are also commonly spotted on structures, in gardens and within low foliage on residential yards. They sometimes wander indoors, but they are not well adapted to indoor locations. Female green lynx spiders are relatively large at about an inch in body length with long legs, and their size often intimidates residents when the spider is spotted in gardens. This spider’s rapid speed and ability to jump from plant-to-plant earned them their common “lynx” name. Female green lynx spiders aggressively defend their egg sacs within gardens, and simply approaching a female in this circumstance will prompt them to spray harmful venom. This venom has caused severe conjunctivitis and temporary vision loss in humans who have been sprayed in the face by these spiders. Due to the absence of an anatomical aiming mechanism in the female’s mouthparts, researchers believe that green lynx spiders evolved to spit at large targets as opposed to other arthropod enemies.
Have you ever spotted a bright green spider in your yard?