Magnolia Green Jumping Spider

The Magnolia green jumping spider (Lyssomanes viridis) — almost certainly a female, as the males are brilliantly colored and somewhat grotesquely elongated about the jaws and abdomen. I love her little red “hat”!

Lyssomanes are one of the more petite jumping spiders, only about 5-8 mm long, with the females being larger.

This species prefers magnolia trees (hence the name) but is not exclusive and can be found on other species of trees, and on bushes, as well. (The one above is actually sitting on my car.) It eats small insects like mites, aphids, and ants, and sometimes other spiders. It also builds a unique broad, sheetlike nest, which may help capture prey by temporarily immobilizing it.

This little fellow (not the same spider as in the top photo) is a juvenile male who hasn’t grown his big orange jaws yet. You can tell because his pedipalps (the little “legs” by his mouth) are thicker, with “paws” on the end which he will use when mating with a female.

And here’s a full-grown adult male. This may even be the same spider as pictured above — the photos were taken in the same location a week apart. (I don’t know how fast these guys grow, but I’d guess it’s not impossible this is the same individual!)

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