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webs and egg sacs
Oxyopes variabilis (QM)|
(or a close relative)
female: 6 mm|
male: 5 mm
This spider is normally found the surfaces of leaves in green vegetation but is very mobile and can easily jump onto other surfaces
The toxicity of the venom of this species is unknown but probably will have no serious effects on humans, though it may cause local pain and inflammation when an accidental biting occurs
Like other oxyopids this species tends to use its colouring as camouflage. It has the usual hexagonal
eye pattern and spiny legs of oxyopids and shares their ability to jump rapidly from surface to surface.
The reason for the 'variabilis' species name is the tendency of this spider to vary so much in markings from specimen to specimen that the only way to
confirm that any two specimens are both Oxyopes variabilis is to compare their genitalia with the aid of a stereo microscope. Clearly, this is not possible
for the non-expert or for anyone looking at living specimens in the field. On the other hand, O. variabilis specimens generally have a white V-shaped marking
on the top of the carapace. the arms of which extend forwards on each side of the eye patch. In addition, there
are normally three pairs of lateral black patches on the abdomen and another pair at the rear of the carapace.
Note: This species illustrates very well how difficult and uncertain it is to try to identify most individual Oxyopes species just by looking at the surface
markings. Comparing the genitalia with those of other known species is not feasible for most people but it is a more accurate way of identifying oxyopids.
Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: Oxyopes elegans and Oxyopes species.
Email Ron Atkinson for more information.
Last updated 5 January 2015.