There are many things I love about nature photography. I love exploring, discovering, and learning during my photo adventures. I am inspired by everything I see, from the tiniest insect to the iconic raptor representing the United States of America- the American Bald Eagle.
Some nature/wildlife photographers are into Fine Art photography, and others just photograph for the enjoyment of being outdoors and capturing images to share on their social media sites. My purpose in photography is to observe, document, learn, and to share that knowledge.
For the years I have been photographing a variety of flora and fauna, I feel I am able to notice if something is different. Something that I may have overlooked hundreds of times before, and it took that one photograph for me see that difference.
Granted, if I went to college and became an Arachnologist, I most likely would have learned about all this quicker, but there is nothing more exciting than being a 56-year-old woman who knows nothing about spiders conjure up curious questions on her own. Yay for citizen science!
The Green Lynx Spider
Green Lynx spiders are everywhere in Florida but finding them will take some patience. They are conspicuous little creatures, and because of their green coloration, they blend beautifully with the leaves and stems of flowering plants. Kind of like a white crab spider position on the top of a petal of a white flower.
I have been photographing these spiders since 2017, and within those years, I have never noticed something different until yesterday.
This species- Green Lynx spider is becoming quite a unique spider.
I had some time before meeting a friend (didn’t change the clock in the car, darn daylight savings time), so I decided to use that extra time and go on a bug hunt.
I followed my advice, yes surprising I actually did this time, and took ten steps and stopped. I took my time to observe everything around me, and after a few minutes, I took another ten steps. Ahh, the mother load. A couple of Jagged Ambush bugs, bees, moths, it was simply splendid! After my next ten steps, I see a female Green Lynx spider guarding her egg case among the dead grass. Within the stems of the freshly bloomed Dog Fennel, a couple of Salt Marsh Moth caterpillars and a few Lady Beetles. But I had to take another look at the Green Lynx spider. It looked odd, strangely odd.
Okay, maybe it’s just me. I continued with my ten steps observation and found more amazing insects as well as another Green Lynx spider and another and another. That’s when I really took notice of the difference between the female spiders I observed.
According to research mating occurs between July and August , and females will construct and complete their egg sac during September thru October. Also according to research, the spiderlings will hatch from their egg after 12-14 days, and they will not break out of the egg case until after their second instar (molting), which is another 12-14 days. The female will lay up to 600 eggs. Boy, oh boy, that’s a lot of kids to look after! She does her best guarding those little kiddos, but as in nature, only a small percentage of those spiderlings will make it to an adult.
What I don’t understand is the coloration changes in the female’s body.
I noticed that some female’s abdomen and legs have a brown/yellow coloration. I see another female where her abdomen and legs have a darker, almost burnt red color tone. The last female I observed her abdomen is as pink as blush and with a red line on the top and underneath the first two segments on all eight legs.
I took these photos on the same day at the same location.
So my question is, what’s going on? Why are these same species of female spiders have different body coloration?
I have researched for hours, searching for some type of answer. Nothing. I did come across this: Life History of the Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans (Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, vol. 39, no. 2, 1966, pp. 259–267). That was an interesting read.
The article describes the life cycle of the Green Lynx spider but states nothing about the coloration changes of the females.
Hopefully, I will be able to get some answers to this curious question, it could be something so simple but then again it could be very complex.
As nature photographers can capture some incredible images, you never would realize that one of those images would hold the truth of why you photograph nature.
Let nature inspire your photography every time you venture out. Remember to be mindful of all those creatures great or small. Respect their space and be aware of your surroundings.