Magnolia Green Jumping Spider

The Magnolia green jumping spider (Lyssomanes viridis) — this individual is an adult male, with fantastically elongated chelicerae that you simply cannot see without macro photography. Compared to the more sedate, round females, this handsome boy looks almost like an alien being. I love this species’ 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 (below). 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!)

The females almost look like they have little white skulls painted on their faces under the “hat”. There’s just something about the face shape — they all look like they’ve been mildly surprised by something behind them and are about to turn around to see what they’ve just sat on.

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