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How about this spider?

I went to sniff a flower in my yard and it was chowing down on a bee!

Ann Fox, Santa Barbara County - September 23, 2021

Curator Response

Hi Ann,

What a beautiful photo. The honey bee is being eaten a green lynx spider, genus Peucetia (family Oxyopidae). There are two species in our area, but Peucetia longipalpis seems most likely—microscopic characters would have to be observed to separate the two.

These are ruthless sit-and-wait predators on flowers. Like most spiders that don’t hunt with webs, these hold their prey in their jaws for some time while they inject digestive enzymes. Once those do their work, they mash up and slurp out the contents of the prey’s body (spiders can’t swallow the outer hard parts)! Here at the Museum we’ve had to remove these spiders from our Butterfly Pavilion occasionally, where they present quite the hazard to our winged livestock!

Stay curious,

Schlinger Chair and Curator of Entomology Matthew L. Gimmel, Ph.D.